Monday, 15 January 2018

15 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues

Apparently today is 'Blue Monday'. a day in the middle of January that is supposedly the most depressing day of the year. I don't know if there's any evidence to support that, but ever since Christmas, I haven't been able to shake those soul-crushing Winter Blues, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

It's the middle of Winter, it's cold, dark, and dreary, Christmas is a distant memory, life has slowed down again, and it's still ages 'til payday. In short, January is the worst. After a month of festive cheer, celebrations, parties, indulging, socialising, and getting showered with presents, it's no wonder January seems so dull and boring in contrast, and so many of us feel the effects of the Winter Blues. January is brutal.

The Winter Blues hits me like clockwork as soon as Christmas is over every year, continuing for most of January and sometimes even 'til Spring. I lose my motivation to do anything, boredom crushes me, I feel suffocated by the darkness, and feel stressed and miserable because I have no money and nothing exciting to look forward to. Sound familiar? Luckily, I've got plenty of coping methods I try to employ to help me beat those pesky blues, and I thought I'd share some of them with you today in case they might be helpful to you or anyone suffering with their mental health at this time of year. Please note, these are by no means official, medically proven ways to treat the blues, SAD or depression, just methods that work for me, and if you're really struggling with your mental health, please talk to your doctor for professional advice. They should be able to help you find the right treatment for you, or refer you to someone that can. At least confide in a friend or loved one, and let them know how you're feeling. Don't suffer in silence; you have nothing to be ashamed of.

If you're interested in reading some tips and ideas from a fellow suffer, then here are my 15 ways to beat the Winter Blues...

1. Plan Something To Look Forward To
Book or plan something to look forward to- a holiday, a concert, a trip to the theatre, a night out with friends... something that will fill you with so much excitement you could burst. It helps to have something exciting to concentrate on and keep going for, especially during the really bleak days.

2. Do What Makes You Happy
Do whatever it is that makes you ridiculously happy, whether that's spending time with your favourite people, watching cat videos in your PJs, going to see your fave bands play live, exploring somewhere new, making things, or going out dancing. Whatever it is that sets your heart on fire, do it!

3. Start A New Project
Start a new project, preferably something that will take a little while to complete, so it can keep you busy and distracted for weeks or months. Crochet a blanket, upcycle a piece of furniture, learn to paint, take up gardening, learn photography, write, start a blog... the possibilities are endless. I find cross-stitching, painting, and creative writing particularly relaxing and therapeutic.

4. Colour Those Blues Away
Pick up a colouring book and colour those winter blues away. There are loads of colouring books for adults now, and trust me, colouring is so therapeutic. It's a great mood-lifter, and should help you to destress, and relax in minutes.

5. Play Some Happy Tunes
Play your favourite happy, uplifting songs up loud. Avoid listening to anything melancholy.

6. Watch Your Favourite Feel Good Movies
Watch your favourite feel good movies with a big bowl of popcorn or your favourite chocolates. It's an instant mood-lifter. Mamma Mia, Julie and Julia, Steel Magnolias and Little Women never fail to make me smile and lighten my mood.

7. Keep Yourself Busy
Try to keep yourself busy. I find boredom only aggravates my SAD, so I like to keep myself as busy as possible to distract myself. I'll usually get crafting, blogging, or writing, but getting lost in my Instagram feed, catching up on some housework, or binge-watching a new TV series works just as well.

8. Hang Out With People You Love
Spend some quality time with the people you love and enjoy being around. Avoid spending time around negative and toxic people that only bring you down. You deserve better than that.

9. Get Washed and Dressed
Get out of your PJs, get showered, put on fresh clean clothes, and spend some time doing your hair, and make up, if you wear it. I don't know about you, but I always feel so much better after a good shower when my hair's all nice and clean, I've changed in to some clean clothes, and put my face on. I feel so much better equipped to face the day.

10. Treat Yourself To A Hair Cut
Get a hair cut. Whether you go for a trim or a whole new look, a good hair cut can be a huge mood-lifter, and give your confidence a boost, too.

11. Eat Well, Drink Plenty Of Water, and Exercise
Eat well, drink plenty of water, and get some exercise to get those endorphins pumping. You don't need to spend hundreds of pounds joining a gym; exercise outside for free! Go for a walk or a run, make use of a skipping rope, dance, take the dog for a walk, or follow an exercise DVD at home.  

12. Get Enough Natural Daylight
Get as much natural day light as possible. Try to get up as close to sunrise as you can so you can get the maximum hours of light available, and make sure you get outside every day for at least 10 minutes to soak up enough Vitamin D.

13. Go For A Walk
Wrap up warm, get outside, and go for a long walk. Breathe in the fresh air, take in the sights and sounds, soak up a little day light, and clear your mind.

14. Avoid New Year Diet and Exercise Talk
Avoid reading fashion and gossip magazines which are filled with diet and exercise talk at this time of year. Reading articles that shame size zero celebrities for gaining three pounds and bombards you with diet tips will only make you feel like crap.

15. Talk To Someone
If you're struggling with your mental health, please don't suffer in silence; talk to someone. Confide in a friend or family member you can trust, and ask your doctor for help. They may be able to offer some treatment to help you or refer you to someone who can. If you can't speak to a loved one or a doctor, there are mental health helplines you can call, which you can find a list of here if you're in the UK. I know it's scary, but there's nothing to be ashamed or afraid of, and you're not alone.

How do you beat the Winter blues?

1 comment

  1. I just found out this year that "Blue Monday" was actually a thing! I guess it's not such a thing here in NZ, but that's probably because January is summer for us (not going to lie though, going back to work after Christmas/New Years is HARD). For me the thing that helps me most is to have something to look forward too, that's a great tip! (even if it's just looking forward to a piece of cake!).


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