8 tips to beat the winter blues.

beat the winter blues

Here are my 8 tips to help you beat the winter blues.

Autumn is well and truly here in the UK; you can really feel that winter’s just round the corner.

I love autumn with all the colours, Halloween and the mystical mists rising off the brook near our house… but a lot of people tell me they find it hard when the weather starts getting colder.

“Help! I just want to hibernate and EAT all winter!”

If this sounds like you, then keep reading, here’s my advice:

First of all, ditch the judgement around what you should & shouldn’t do. Any kind of guilt-tripping yourself for ‘not getting it right’, never helps you.

Instead find a balance between doing things you feel drawn to doing and doing things that you know will help you feel good in the long term.

I’ve been drawn to decluttering recently. Forget spring cleaning – autumn cleaning is where it’s at! We had friends round our house for the first time in almost a few years now, so that was a massive motivator. Plus, the low sun we get this time of year was shining in on the dust & cobwebs in all the nooks & crannies – eek!

It always feels good once you’ve done a bit of a sort-out, but you might not be in the mood for that. You might be feeling like hiding away and that is perfectly natural & normal, no need to beat yourself up.

However if you know that when it gets colder all the habits that keep you feeling well, go out the window. You scrap all your usual physical activity. You eat way more than you need, especially the treats & snacks. Then you end up generally feeling shit, followed by being tempted to try the latest diet fad when all the ‘New Year New You’ crap kicks off… (and we know what happens when you get sucked into all that dieting bollocks!)

Here are my 8 top tips to help you beat the winter blues & get through the urge to hibernate & over-eat:

1. Try to avoid hibernating completely

It’s so easy to come home at the end of a long day at work and hide in front of the TV.  Unfortunately, if you’re one of those people who start to feel down as the nights draw in then this isn’t going to help you feel good long-term.  Try to stick to your usual routine. If you usually have clubs/activities in the evening, make the effort to keep going.  It may be a struggle, but you’ll feel better in the long-term if you keep doing the things you enjoy doing.

2. Consider taking a Vitamin D supplement

This is one of the very few times you’ll hear me recommending supplements. Most people can get everything they need from a well-balanced diet. However, Vitamin D is the one we get from the sun shining on our skin – it’s hard to get enough from just your diet.

Here in the UK it’s recommended that you consider taking 10mcg/day at least between the months of September-May, if not all year round. The sun here just isn’t strong enough for us to get enough Vitamin D from it, during the colder months.

Even if you get out in the sunshine every day during the summer months to ‘stock-up’ it may not be enough. It’s well worth considering, especially if you cover up or don’t go outside much in summer or have darker skin – the darker your skin, the longer your skin needs in the sun to get enough Vitamin D (and vice-versa).

3. Get outside every day especially in green areas

I know it can be tough if you have no reason to get outside, but if you can go out in the fresh air every day it can make such a difference. Especially if you go out in the morning or if the sun is out. Get wrapped up in your warmest clothes and wander round the garden. Or find the nearest green space and see how you feel after being there for 10 minutes.

Even if it’s a cold, grey day you’ll still be getting some fresh air and exercise. But the biggie is the ‘biophilia effect’ of being in a greenspace; near trees, bushes and grass. Being out in nature helps you to feel good and sleep better overall. When you sleep better it has a knock-on positive effect… it’s like a positive cycle, you feel better, then you’re more likely to keep doing things that help you feel better, then on & on.

beat the winter blues
Try going for a brisk 10min walk in the nearest green space on your lunch break

4. Keep moving to beat the winter blues

Yep, it’s really tempting to skip the exercise and curl up on the sofa in front of Netflix! But the more you can keep active during the colder months, the better you’ll feel. Being physically active helps us feel good physically. It also helps you feel good emotionally and sleep better too. Anything you can do to sleep better is going to help EVERYTHING else right?!

Maybe you might need to swap outdoor exercise for indoors if you know the weather will put you off? You could try putting your favourite music on and dancing round the living room. Maybe find online exercise classes or tutorials – there’s loads on Youtube. Just check you’re following the advice of a qualified instructor & work within your body’s capability. (If in doubt, check with your GP/Health professional before starting something new!)

I can’t stress how important it is to find something you enjoy when it comes to exercise. If it’s something you don’t really enjoy, you’ll find it easier to make excuses to skip. There’s something out there for everyone, you just have to find it! 

If it’s something you know you enjoy once you get started, but sometimes it’s hard to get yourself to go. Try ‘fast-forwarding’ to how you’ll feel after the session. Imagine that sense of achievement once you’ve finished and the feeling of the endorphins and how your body feels better in the long-term.

Having a buddy, especially one who is enthusiastic about exercise, can help you. Plus, it makes it a social event, which is an added bonus.

5. Keep eating regular balanced meals

I know this is something I always come back to for pretty much every issue you struggle with, after a lifetime of yo-yo dieting. But it really does make a massive difference. Keep focusing on nourishing your body with regular balanced meals. This gives your body a steady stream of energy and all the nutrients it needs so you’re more likely to feel the best you can feel.

The key to eating well is getting a variety of different foods including plenty of fruit and veg. For more info on making it easy to get balanced meals check out my ‘Healthy Eating’ guide.

Warming stews, soups & casseroles are great when the weather is colder. They’re comforting & satisfying and easy to pack in loads of veg.

6. Find your people!

Connecting with other people is one of the ways that can help us to feel good. It’s particularly important if you struggle to feel good over the colder months.  We’re sociable creatures; finding likeminded people to connect with, helps us to feel better.  Whether you connect online, in person or over the phone, it’ll help you feel less isolated. 

Try joining a club where you can meet people with similar interests or phone a friend you haven’t been in touch with in a while.  Spend time with people you care about, but you may need to avoid those emotional vampires – you know the ones I mean!  They drain you of energy by moaning all the time and never see the positive – steer clear of these people as their negative energy is infectious!

7. Practice the art of gratitude

Recognising the good in our lives can help us to be more positive. Try spending a few minutes every day asking yourself what you feel grateful for in your life. We love sharing the highlight of our day as a family together at our evening meal. It doesn’t have to be big things; it could be something that went well or something nice someone said to you. 

Maybe the rain stopped for a few minutes and the sun came out.  Or the canteen was serving your favourite meal at work.  Or maybe you’ve had a really bad day, but you managed to get through it – yay, go you!  You could record your positives or successes in some way so that you can regularly look back on them, particularly on the tough days.

beat the winter blues
Try writing your daily highlights & keeping them in a gratitude jar

8. Have a good clear out 

Forget spring-cleaning! I’m a big fan of having a sort out at this time of year.  I don’t particularly like cleaning, but there’s something satisfying about having a good clear out.  Is there a cupboard or drawer that’s been bugging you lately? Why don’t you pull everything out and get rid of the clutter? Maybe it’s time to vacuum behind your bed or clean behind the fridge – it’s an effort, but try fast-forwarding to how you’ll feel afterwards once it’s done.

Bonus tip: Have a good giggle

Laughing, even forced laughter has been shown to be good for both our physical and emotional health.  Laughter Yoga is a great way to help beat the winter blues. If you’ve never heard of Laughter Yoga, I’d definitely recommend checking it out. Don’t let the ‘Yoga’ part fool you, it’s mainly about getting yourself to giggle! 

If you can’t find anywhere near you doing Laughter Yoga sessions, then try watching your favourite comedy or meeting that friend who is guaranteed to make you laugh.  Try thinking about the last time you had a good giggle and put yourself back in that place. Really imagine yourself laughing and see if you can get that smile on your face again.  If all else fails, you could always search the Internet for funny cat videos!

What do you think? Nothing too difficult right? But it’s so easy for habits to creep in that don’t help us feel our best.

I’m here if you need more support. Especially with managing the food/eating side of things. Talking things through & getting help to come up with an action plan can make all the difference. 

Need help to ditch dieting forever? Want to eat normally again AND lose weight healthily ..? While still enjoying the cake & chocolate? Hell yes!

I can help you ditch dieting forever, either with my 1-2-1 support. Or if you prefer to work independently, you can learn all the skills I teach my 1-2-1 clients, on my ‘No More Diets’ online course.

My Weekly Round-up! AKA; what I’ve been up to recently…

  • This week we finally got some more Vanilla Chai teabags – woohoo! One of my faves and it feels like just the right tea to be drinking this time of year, yum!
  • Super excited to tick something off my bucket list too. I finally got to dress up in period costume to be an extra (or ‘supporting artist’ as we’re known in the industry, don’t you know -lol!) in the background of a TV programme… but I’m not allowed to tell you anything about it – argh!
  • We’ve done the obligatory seasonal pumpkin picking & scored some free pumpkins! The pumpkin patch had sold out by the time we got there despite planting 3x as many as before! We had a spooky bimble through their ‘witchy wood’ and found some abandoned pumpkins that weren’t immaculate, but good enough. They let us take them for free – bonus!
  • So this week we’ve been trying a few pumpkin recipes. The soup was tasty although 6-year old Genevieve was more impressed with the pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes!
  • I also tried making apple chutney as we’ve been inundated with apples from our trees. I love apple season coz it means I get to use my rotary apple peeler, which also cores & slices too – love it!