It’s been one week now since we turned back the clocks and if you’re currently pushing through the darkness with copious amounts of coffee then maybe we can be your light in the dark and let you in on a few tricks of the trade. A ‘night person’ may be thinking ‘fabulous!’ darker days and longer nights are just what the Doctor ordered, but after a couple of weeks, the rainbow will surely fade. With less exposure to the sun, not to mention slamming that keyboard in the office throughout the sunny hours, can mean close to constant darkness for us lot in the Northern Hemisphere. The onset of fall and winter is known to cause a rise in SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), affecting up to 20% of individuals in some shape or form! SAD is a very real disorder that will sap your energy and leave you feeling glum and irritable. But on a brighter note, whether you’re affected by SAD or not, it’s likely that you will feel down at some point during these dark days and that’s why we are here to help.
So how can we beat the winter blues?
1. Smell an Orange
Yep, you read that right. Studies have shown that the scent of an orange can not only reduce stress but also improve mood. Now if you are going to smell an orange, no harm in eating it afterwards- right? Besides, you’ve probably just got your grubby hands all over it. Eating an orange for breakfast (and deeply inhaling its zestyness beforehand) is a great way to start the day. You could also be weird and put a dab on your wrists – science says it’s good for you so what are you waiting for?
2. Eat Whole Foods and Drink!
That sugar rush might get you nice and perky -for a few minutes, but the bodies shock when the sugar rush dies down is not going to be fun. Everyone’s always banging on about ‘eating healthy whole foods’ and you might have completely ignored them in the past, but you’re going to want to open your ears this time of the year. The Fall and Winter seasons is the time where you really should be careful not to overdose on sugary foods, white flour as well as processed foods. These food types cause drops in mood and energy, not to mention they do no favors for the waistline or general health either. Take advantage of some yummy fall leafy greens, good old protein and friendly carbs and fats. Avocado, dark choccie and complex carbs such as brown rice and whole grains should keep your serotonin levels happy. And when I say drink I just want to be clear that I’m talking about WATER (don’t be getting any ideas). Green tea will also do wonders with all those antioxidants swimming about, and if you want to have the odd glass of wine in the evening, well I won’t tell if you won’t (run a bath while you’re at it and get those bubbles going).
3. Make Your House a Home
Traveling home from work in the cold and dark, you may find yourself walking with your head down with a cloud of stress looming above. Heading home to a place you truly want to be can be just the comfort you need to relax and feel good. Spending a few dollars on tweaking your house into becoming the home you truly want it to be can make a HUGE difference. Even if it means getting some bubble bath or a new dressing gown to run around the house in, or even a nice new bed set, anything that induces calm will do. I particularly recommend replacing old miserable yellow lightbulbs with some brighter happier bulbs to brighten up your day. And what about jazzing up your walls? Paint doesn’t have to be expensive, grab a brush with your partner, your kids, anyone, or just turn up the music and add some color to your life. Finish off with some flowers and voila! Happy home, happy me.
4. Get That Booty Moving
I’m not going to spend too long on this one but get that booty moving! I don’t care how, I don’t care when but exercise can really boost your mood. Even if it’s a quick and fast walk, a short gym session or if you’re lucky enough to have one, some cheeky down time with your partner can do just the trick. Make it fun, grab some friends or your cat, dance around the house for all I care, just make sure you’re moving in some shape or form.
5. Fill Your Evenings
You’ve just gotten home from work, what do you do? Collapse on the bed? Become a domestic goddess and stop at nothing until your ‘done’ (what even is done?)? Weeknights can be particularly difficult in the winter especially if you are alone. Why not fill your time with cooking up a storm? Put down that phone, no ordering in tonight. Grab that cookbook your mum gave you currently rotting away on the shelf and set yourself a little mission. Keeping busy be it cleaning, cooking, taking up a hobby are all great ways to fill your evenings with something other than looming darkness.
6. Make Plans and Be Excited
Get yourself a pretty little planner/calendar (if you don’t already have one) and don’t just stare at it, fill it up! We mustn’t be afraid to make plans. Phone an old friend, go on a girls night out, go on a blind date, skype a friend far away, take a spontaneous trip – it doesn’t matter what it is, but make plans so that you have something to look forward to. Always wanted to take an astronomy course/dance/pet puppies in the pet shop? If you need ideas just message in they are rolling off today. Just make sure to keep your winter plans jam packed (including relaxing nights of course- don’t forget the wine) will mean having something to do and look forward to, and who knows, you may even meet some great people along the way.
If you have a partner, then grab them and do something spontaneous! If you’re single, and on the lookout for someone special to keep you warm this winter, then why not try a dating site? You could meet some great people with partner potential; maybe you’ll even make a new friend? At the absolute worst you’ll have a ‘nightmare date’ scenario leaving you with some hilarious stories to tell your friends and keep you giggling at night.
7. And Finally, Be the Change You Want to See in the World
Bored of grumpy mean people? Force a smile- it will actually make you feel better. Smiles are contagious (just like yawning) due to the ‘mirror neurons’ in our brain, so smile at a stranger and maybe they will pass it on. If you’re bored of nasty people, then be the person that you want to see pass you by. You’ll notice that doing nice things and little good deeds no matter how small can make you feel so much better. Karma can be your best friend, and the darkness will soon turn back into light. So make the most of this 'dark time' and be the change you want to see in the world.