It's getting cold and dark. I don't know about you, but I dread the clocks going back. I don't like the cold, the damp or the mud which seems to cover all the roads near where I live from early November through to March. As the temperature drops, It's easy to get into a negative, hibernation way of living if we allow it. We can find ourselves living a more sedentary, carb-loaded existence. So here are four things which I try to plant firmly in my head at the time of the change of clocks, to avoid hibernation hangover!
1. Get out and about - exercise in the fresh air. If the sun is shining say to yourself - I NEED SOME LIGHT! and if that makes no sense then listen to this podcast to learn all about it. Breathe, look, listen, enjoy the changing season, wrap up, add extra clothes, embrace the weather, smile and make it fun. Walk a dog, borrow a dog, imagine a dog - anything which will get you moving in the big outdoors. In addition, take a vitamin D supplement. It's impossible to make enough from winter light so you need to give it a boost between October and April.
2. Choose your friends - the radiators are on inside your house and people who radiate towards you, are the people you need to hang out with. It sounds a bit ruthless but I have learned that in winter when mood can be low, it's vital that I spend time with people who are kind, spark my usual positivity and inspire my need to care. We all have relationships which can be unhelpful to our well-being and somehow at other times of the year these are easier to manage. In the winter when we can be feeling less buoyant, I think it's much harder. So put yourself first and distance yourself a little from anyone who drains you.
3. Create something - plan some crafts or activities which enable you to make something - preferably something beautiful or useful which you can look at or use regularly. Plan it, shop for it, make it slowly, enjoy the process mindfully. This means look at it, feel it, smell it, connect with each step of the creative journey. And when it's finished, relish it and share it with others. The act of making something creates pride and positivity, aiding self-esteem and good mood. Pride in not only the finished article (it doesn't have to be perfect by the way!) but in having learned the process of making and the achievement of having something tangible at the end of it. I'm lining up a few crochet jumpers to tackle.
4. Eat well - it's temping to load up on comfort food when its cold and we're a bit fed up, but this only creates a cycle of lethargy and sluggishness. Simple carbs and sugar will not lift your mood! See my article HERE. So focussing on warming foods which are packed with nutrition will improve how you feel and keep you energised when the weather isn't very inspiring. Foods like casseroles with lots of veg, soups, porridge with fruits and nuts, home made seeded breads and fibre-rich whole grains. Get the recipe books out now and plan some winter meals, get enthusiastic about winter vegetables, be creative!
And to finish:
1. Get as much morning light as possible (WHY?)
2. Consider a vitamin D supplement
3. Avoid the temptation to comfort carb load and eat plenty of veg
4. Skin brush to stimulate circulation
5. Move outside everyday
6. Get creative to stimulate your mind
7. Be around positive people to keep your spirits up 8. Treat yourself with something other than food
I have no idea if anyone else feels like this in winter, but if you do, I hope these simple thoughts might help boost your winter well-being.