Beating the winter blues

The clocks have gone back, the evenings are darker and the days are shorter. Ever find yourself a little less motivated, lethargic or even feeling a little down?  It is thought that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects around 2 million people in the UK and more than 12 million people across Northern Europe. It can affect people of any age, including children.

Some of the symptoms include depression, sleep problems, l$ethargy, overeating, irritability, feeling down and being unsociable.

Everyone is affected differently by SAD so what works for one person won’t for another. However, there is usually something that will help, so don’t give up if the first remedy you try doesn’t work. Just keep trying. Here are ten ways to help beat the winter blues:

  1. Keep active: Research has shown that a daily one-hour walk could be helpful for coping with the winter blues. Keeping your appointments and schedule can help you get into a routine and this can also help. Of course, don’t ever skip your chiropractic appointments as adjustments will benefit your nervous system and help you cope with stress.
  2. Get outside: Go outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible, especially at midday and on brighter days. Inside your home, choose pale colours that reflect light from outside, and sit near windows whenever you can. Soaking up the light can help increase your levels of vitamin D!
  3. Keep warm: Being cold makes you more depressed. It’s also been shown that staying warm can reduce the winter blues. Keep warm with hot drinks and hot food. Wear warm clothes and shoes and aim to keep your home between 18C and 21C.
  4. Eat healthily: A healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy and stop you putting on weight over winter. Balance your craving for carbohydrates, such as pasta and potatoes, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. A healthy diet will also help boost your immune system to help you fight off any colds or flus.
  5. Take up a new hobby: Keeping your mind active can help to ward off symptoms of SAD according to experts. Try playing bridge, singing, knitting, joining a gym, keeping a journal or writing a blog. The important thing is that you have something to look forward to and concentrate on!
  6. See your friends and family: It’s been shown that socialising is good for your mental health and helps ward off the winter blues. Make an effort to keep in touch with people you care about and accept any invitations you get to social events, even if you only go for a little while. It will really help to lift your spirits.
  7. Talk it through & seek help: Talking to friends or family about how you are feeling will help you. Perhaps you may like to seek support from your GP or through counselling. Feel free to talk to Dr. Ben the next time you are in, he will give you lots of advice and tips on coping with SAD.
Dr. Benjamin Martin is a Chiropractor and speaker on Health and Wellbeing. Ben is regularly called on to discuss health topics and chiropractic on radio, tv and press. His promise is to adjust and educate as many families as possible towards optimal health. His work changes lives and has restored people's quality of life.
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