Tackling the winter blues (again)

Winter Blues
open fire

In the last couple of years, winter has felt like being hit in the face with a brick. It’s made me down, unmotivated and the least fun person to be around. Whilst autumn and spring have me running at a solid 10/10 as I swish my way through piles of brown leaves or daffodils, recent winters kicked me down to a measly 3/10 version of myself. Which let’s be honest, is a bag of shite as winter is a babe of a season when you think about it – it’s all knitwear, Christmas markets and less pressure to shave your legs. Winter is banging.

Admittedly, a lot has changed in 2017 for me which I think has also helped me seriously combat those seasonal feels, but I’ve also taken some active steps to help me stay at least averaging above a 6/10, and for me, it’s working. Is it a placebo affect? It could well be. Do I care if it is? Not particularly. Here’s how I’ve been beating my winter blues.*

*Disclaimer here, obvs I’m not a medical professional so please don’t take the below as a treatment plan, this is simply what’s working for me. Also, I haven’t self-diagnosed myself with anything, I’ve simply reflected on my mood patterns and made active changes. (Nobody wants to be a self diagnos-er).

Taking Vitamin D
I started taking a Vitamin D supplement back in March this year and who knows whether it’s actually made a difference or not, but I’m going to attribute some of my not feeling horrendous vibe down to it. Vitamin D is what you get from the sun and as a non-outdoorsy type, it’s not like I’m topping myself up with rays on the regular so I figured that taking it will give me a little boost. So far, so good.

Sunrise/sunset lamp
I appreciate that I’ve banged on about this lamp basically since I got it in February but honest to God it is a game-changer. I read recently that waking up to the sudden sound of an alarm is essentially like giving your body a heart attack (LOL that’s a Daily Mail level of exaggeration there) and now I’ve used my lamp to wake me up for so long, I appreciate the sentiment behind this statement. I set mine to hit about 80% brightness (which is enough to wake me up) about 10 minutes before my alarm so that I’m awake and have done my morning scroll before my alarm prompts me to get out of bed.

Healthier lifestyle choices
I won’t bore anyone with this one but it’s a no-brainer really that everyone feels better if they don’t live off a diet of beige food and sofa slumps. Whilst I’m far from rivaling Joe Wicks, I’ve upped my vegetable intake and go to the gym often enough to not need to send myself a reminder of the pass-code I need to get in.

Filling my diary with plans
Distraction works well for me and keeping both my weeknights and weekends full helps a lot, whether I have plans by myself or with other people. It’s always easy to fill your weekends, especially in the run up to Christmas so I think putting some effort into the mid-week is more important. Walking home in the dark to an empty flat night after night can get me a little on the doom and gloom side but a few plans mid-week really breaks it up for me. And then when I am at home, I’m too busy catching up on home-y stuff to notice how I feel.

Allowing myself social hangover time
A social hangover sounds weird, right? I wrote a post about being an introverted extrovert earlier this year and this is the concept of loving spending time with other people but that desperate need for downtime afterwards. It’s essentially a social hangover. It’s getting headspace that stops you emotionally burning out. Whilst filling my diary is important, I need those nights off inbetween just to get me back on track. As I write this on a Sunday morning, it’s after a week of back to back plans after work and then all day Saturday and this time for just me is like the equivalent of ordering a Dominos the day after a messy night out. It’s indulgent, it’s necessary and it makes me feel a little more like a human.

Saying no to fuckboys
Probably not a tip you’ll find on the NHS website for combating a bad mood but honest to God, rinsing your life from toxic individuals seriously helps those winter feels. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed that all it takes is one chilly Sunday eve for the Whatsapp graveyard to come back to life in the style of Thriller? But now is not the time to want to get cosy with someone who only give you attention when the temperature drops below 6 degrees. And if you do want to get cosy, at least find yourself a new snuggle buddy off Tinder and keep your toes crossed that they’re not a dickhead (surely it’s better to chance a new person not being a knob than to get back with someone who you know will fuck you over the moment the clocks go forward, right?).

So that’s what I’ve been doing to feel better this winter, what are your tips?

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