Many of us embrace the winter months, taking the opportunity to retreat a little, move to a slower rhythm and recharge. There's something so nurturing about being at home, warm and cosy, safe from the stormy weather that's raging outside.
But by the time February comes around the novelty has often worn off, and the desire for a duvet day can become overwhelming. And as tempting as it may be, staying in bed from now until spring comes around just isn’t an option. So we’ve got some tips to help you beat the lethargy that can creep in at this time of year and push forward towards the lighter days ahead.
Vitamin D, often referred to as the sunshine vitamin, is produced naturally under the skin in response to sunlight. In Guernsey, there is enough sunlight between April and September for most of us to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D, but with many of us spending more time covered up and indoors over the winter months, it's widely accepted that we need to look at other sources to maintain adequate levels at this time of year. You can top up your vitamin D levels with quality supplements and by eating a diet rich in vitamin D3 foods. Our go-to nutitionist Sarah Gale explains all with Everything You Need To Know About Vitamin D.
It can be tempting to reach for too many beige foods during winter when the salads of summer are long forgotten. Instead, try to stick to a healthy diet that is rich in protein and seasonal vegetables - think hearty stews, homemade curries and warming soups. Your diet has a direct effect on your mood and energy levels, so if you know your motivation levels are likely to drop over winter, try to prepare healthy meals in advance, or sign up for a recipe box - we're fans of Mindful Chef - so that you reach for a balanced meal rather than a more processed option on cold, dark evenings.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated during the winter months. Research shows that drinking plain water is associated with a decreased risk of depression and anxiety. Now, we love a latte as much as the next girl, and who doesn’t love a hot chocolate to warm up on a cold day? But your body needs water throughout the year, not just in summer when you're reminded of the fact by the hot weather.
Spending time outdoors can help to lift your mood, even on cloudy days. Studies have shown that exposure to natural light helps your body to boost its levels of serotonin, the body’s feel good chemical that helps to regulate your mood. Whether it’s a long hike along the cliffs at the weekend or a short walk around town during your lunch break, wrap up warm and head outside to make the most of the daylight hours.
If you can’t get out as much as you would like - like when the rain doesn't stop for days on end - then try to bring the outdoors in. Throw those curtains wide or open up the blinds and let in as much daylight as possible, and try sitting by the window to absorb as much sunlight as you possibly can. Or invite Mother Nature into your life with flowers and indoor plants, or maybe even a living wall. Fresh air is also crucial and it can get stuffy when the heating is on, so don’t forget to crack the window open for a bit, even on chilly days.
Colour is an amazing source of energy and has the power to trigger the release of dopamine, the happy hormone that is responsible for feelings of wellbeing and happiness. By injecting a splash of colour into your wardrobe, you can deliver a quick fix of mood enhancing cheer, and wearing bright, warm colours will not only make you feel better, those around you will also benefit from seeing the colours you wear. It's a win-win situation.
With shorter days and wet weather, it can be easy have less contact with friends and family, but it's good to know that a quick chat can really help to lift your spirits… and could be just what the person on the other end of the call needs too. If you can meet up in person, making plans in advance means that it's more likely to happen. Also, let your friends and family know how you are feeling so you can support one another if the season is getting you down. You don't even have to leave home. Invite someone over to watch that boxset with you.
This Danish concept means to embrace all things cosy and enjoyable that promote wellbeing. Ideal for this season. It’s all about making time to relax and focusing on the simple things in life, so turn off your notifications, step away from your computer and enjoy some me-time. Light a candle, make some cocoa, wrap yourself up in a warm blanket and get stuck into a good book. Go Danish for a few hours - there’s a reason the Danes consistently rank among the happiest nations in the world.