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Winter blues? Here's how to beat them

Winter blues? Here's how to beat them

Lack of sunlight, harsh weather, too much comfort food and sofa-time – the winter months can take their toll on our mental health.  Low mood, dodgy appetite and oversleeping are often the result, usually peaking in January and February.  

If you think you’re suffering from the “winter blues” (often called Seasonal Affective Disorder), here’s how you should tackle it:

1.BE MINDFUL OF YOUR MIND

Meditation is scientifically proven to relax the body and mind. Just 10 minutes a day has measurable effects on boosting happiness and reducing stress.

On top of this, be watchful of your thoughts and behaviours. Confront your own negativity and do things that lift your spirit. Don’t be a victim to your own gloom.

2.EAT COMPLEX CARBS

Winter makes us crave carbs but try to resist refined ones such as white bread, pizza and pastries which will make you more tired. Choose low-impact carbs such as legumes, seasonal veg, nuts and oats which help keep blood sugar levels steady.

3.GET MORE LIGHT

Nothing beats a morning walk on a bright winter’s day. In fact, a 15-minute walk in natural daylight at any time has been proven to increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels, which help regulate circadian rhythms and improve mood.

Make your home as light as possible – open curtains and clean the panes. You can even get a dawn simulator to gradually light up your bedroom in the morning.

4.GIVE LIGHT THERAPY A GO

Research shows that up to 80% of people with winter blues benefit greatly from bright light therapy. This means sitting in front of a light box for 30 minutes a day (preferably the morning) during autumn and winter. You can buy them online and even take portable ones with you into work.

5.SUPPLEMENT YOUR DIET

People suffering from the winter blues often have a reduced level of serotonin, the “feel-good” chemical. Tryptophan is converted into serotonin in our body, so taking tryptophan supplements can be an effective way of boosting a depressed mood.

6.HUSSLE WHENEVER YOU CAN

Exercise works wonders for boosting serotonin so force yourself to stay active. Gyms are great, but working out in natural daylight is even more effective, particularly the first couple of hours in the morning. Failing that, try a quick Hussle in front of a light fixture!

7.TAKE VITAMIN D AND OMEGA-3 OIL

Sunlight is one of the main sources of vitamin D, which means a lot of people are deficient over winter. Supplementing with vitamin D is shown to reduce tiredness and improve mood. Omega-3 oil is also worth a try, as their abundance of omega-3 has an anti-depressant effect.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

the author

Kath Webb

Kath is a contributing writer for Hussle. Football, running, weight training, yoga and walking are her forte, along with cooking tasty, nutritious food - with a regular batch of cake chucked in.

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