Why it’s OK to have the winter blues

The Winter Blues
I’m not normally one to discuss topics like this on my blog as I try to focus on the more light-hearted stuff but I feel it wouldn’t be right to just gloss over something that I’ve been struggling with. The whole point about blogging and being true to yourself in this world is sharing the shit as well as the fun stuff, so here we go.

December has been a bit of a whirlwind for me already and if I’m honest, I’ve been struggling with the winter blues. This pretty much hit me like a ton of bricks as I’ve never been one to be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder and generally whilst I’m in Leeds*, I can manage mood swings in a way my 15 year old self can only dream of. There have been periods of time that I’ve not been able to lift a bad mood and when I realised other people were starting  to notice me being quieter (just to stop myself snapping), that actually, this wasn’t normal for me.

*Disclaimer, I can’t handle mood swings when I have to live with other people. #SorryNotSorry

I’ll throw it out there now that I’m not relating this back to mental illness. Nothing infuriates me more than people linking the feeling of an emotion in a situation that would naturally trigger it and then pass. Don’t get me wrong, I know that a lot of people genuinely suffer but I’m talking about the kind of person who gets a headache and is all ‘OMG IT’S A MIGRAINE’ and then is fine 20mins later. We all know the type. ANYWAY.

Feeling a bit messed up at this time of year is actually fine. When you think about it, December is a pretty unsettled month and it can leave you, if nothing else, exhausted. There’s so much going on, there only seems to be about 5 minutes of daylight every day and there’s always that niggling thought at the back of your mind that shit, you’re seriously skint, as y’know, it’s Christmas. Throw into that a shit ton of carbs, very little exercise and a few hangovers, it’s not surprising that people start feeling a bit shitty.

I put together my top 10 ways to help the winter blues. I’m by no means a medical expert but this is what’s working for me.

1. Sleep. It seems really obvious but with so much going on, it’s easy to have a few more late nights a week than you would normally and I found myself quickly feeling drained. Once I started actually sending myself to be somewhere between 9-10pm on a night, the days seemed a lot easier.

2. Make a plan. Not just to get in your social life, but for everything. Knowing what’s happening and when means that you don’t end up missing things, double booking yourself and leaving things to the last minute.

3. Do all the fun stuff. It doesn’t have to be expensive but at the end of the day, this season is once a year and doing things like visiting the Christmas markets, even if it’s just for a wander round is a great way to switch off.

4. Eat healthy stuff. I’m the absolute worst for it being the run up to Christmas and thinking ‘fuck it, I’ll start again in January’ but I always forget just how rubbish I feel when I don’t eat good food. Whilst we all enjoy the December food coma courtesy of mince pies, chocolate santas and all of the cheese, only having a week of not eating well and suddenly I feel like a slug. Attractive, I know.

5. Actually going to the gym. I hate being this person who goes on about exercise and endorphins, but if I’m honest, the sense of achievement for me isn’t doing an insane workout, it’s the fact that I’ve dragged myself away from Netflix and a packet of Hobnobs, through the wind and the rain to get there. The actual exercise bit is just a bonus.

6. Embrace shorter days. I’ve started to open my blinds when it’s still dark as it means I can see the sun rise as I make breakfast on a morning. Shorter days may be a bit shitty, but you still see every hour of daylight (even if it’s through the window at work), and dark nights are an excuse for candles. And candles make every night better.

7. Surround yourself with positive people. You know those people who you can always laugh with, they always have something insightful to say and you bounce off them? Those people. Also, the people who know you inside out, who you can say anything to and they always know how to reply. Make time for those people.

8. Ditch the negativity. The people who make snide comments, leave you feeling a bit meh and only want to talk about themselves? See ya.

9. Do something charitable. There’s always going to be someone in a worse off position than you this Christmas so make a donation, by the homeless guy a hot drink or just do something nice.

10. Make January plans. Yes, we’ll all be skint and yes, it will be like a Christmas-less version of December, but that’s the reason to make plans. It can be cheap but with the right people, it will be cheerful and it gives you something to look forward to.

How are you feeling this December? Excited for Christmas or a bit here, there and everywhere? Let me know in the comments!

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