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This time of the year can be difficult for many.
The dark mornings, being immersed in darkness as we travel to work, short daylight hours, travelling back home in pitch black, the constant cold, the dreary weather, and being deprived of precious daylight moments due to commitments which force us to be indoors make the winter months rough.
All of this can take its toll on us, leaving us feeling down, deflated, demotivated, and in some cases depressed.
Here are six tips to help make the “doom and gloom” more bearable:
Understand that how you are feeling is normal and natural. Essentially, we are animals and our bodies are still programmed with the basic primal instincts of animals. This time of the year, we are meant to be slowing down, conserving energy, storing fat, staying warm, sleeping lots, and preparing ourselves for hibernation. We, however, are the only animals who do the opposite! Due to the festive season, we get busier, we start doing more, we rush around trying to shop for presents, attending parties and nights out, and working harder to meet end of year work and study deadlines.
By understanding and accepting that we are actually working against our bodies, and asking them to do something they’re not programmed to do, we can stop giving ourselves such a hard time for how we are feeling. We can start being kinder to ourselves and being realistic with our expectations. Perhaps we can prioritise events and activities to identify which ones are truly important, instead of pressuring ourselves to do everything.
2. Catch some daylight hours
Be mindful of the fact that our body needs daylight hours in order to function well. During the day, no matter how busy we are, we all have to stop to eat. Make a point of going outdoors to grab your lunch or take a 20-minute walk to capture as much of those precious daylight hours as you can. Just doing this will not only make us feel better, but make us more efficient, energised, and productive for the rest of the day.
3. Work “outside the box”
If our place of work or study involves us being stuck in a confined space with no windows, then it’s important to make a point of removing ourselves from that environment as often as we can. Use a break space, communal area, or separate room that does have windows. Expose yourself, as much as you can, to sunlight and fresh air throughout the day. For the times that we are in confined spaces, the use of a Himalayan salt lamp could be beneficial.
4. Eat smart
During the winter months, our body is preparing for hibernation, hence the reason why we begin to crave fatty foods, sugars, and carbohydrates. As tempting as they might be, these foods make us feel sleepier, deenergised, and demotivated. Replace junk food with food that is healthier, slow-releasing in energy, and provides your body with the much-needed nutrients that it might be deprived of this time of the year.
Contrary to popular belief, we need to continue drinking lots of water and keep ourselves hydrated during the winter. The change in weather and the use of central heating can result in us losing a lot of water to the environment, which is why we start to experience dry hands, skin, and lips. This lack of water can also affect our concentration, focus, energy levels, and make our bodies feel inefficient and lethargic. We must remember to replenish our body by drinking water regularly.
6. Wear bright colours
The mornings and nights may be dark, but that doesn’t mean that our wardrobe has to be. Colour has a big impact on our mood and energy levels, and has the power to change how we are feeling. Make a point of wearing an item of clothing that is bright, picking colours that are warm and comforting for this time of the year.
We can’t change the dark days and nights. We can, however, use these six tips to help us feel more energised and better able to deal with them.