Beat the Winter Blues


As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, even the best of us can get a little down in the dumps. But there's a lot you can do to stop the winter blues from taking hold and keep yourself feeling healthy and happy until the summer rolls around again.


Winter coupleExercise: even if the weather is cold and rainy, there's no excuse not to get moving. Taking regular exercise boosts your energy levels and releases those great feel-good hormones that help you get through the day with a smile on your face. If you're fed up with your usual exercise regime ring the changes with a new sport or fitness class. Or how about planning an active holiday, skiing or hiking, or going somewhere warm for swimming and snorkelling? Don't forget that shopping can be good exercise too, so hit the mall and power walk your way round the aisles.

Eat healthily: winter is traditionally a time to chow down the comfort foods, but make sure that you're not overdoing the refined and processed goodies that can be real mood-draggers. Try to eat more complex carbohydrates (whole wheat breads, brown rice, veggies and fruit) to top up your body's nutrients and stabilise your mood. Eggs contain no fewer than 11 essential vitamins and minerals and can help to keep colds and flu at bay by boosting your winter immune system.

Get out more: Not only does sunlight give us with Vitamin D, but it's also a great mood-booster. Although the winter days are shorter and darker, try to spend a little more time outdoors. If you can't do that then sit near a window and make sure you keep your shades open in the day to let in as much natural light as possible. You could also change your light globes to the kind that mimic daylight and have the same positive effect as the real thing.

Treat yourself: Keep yourself motivated through the winter with the promise of a little self indulgence from time to time. Just a night out with friends, a takeaway and a favourite DVD or a weekend away can keep you feeling positive about the future.

Relax: Don't forget to take some time out from your busy life - there's no shame in spending a few minutes every day just doing nothing and recharging your batteries. Learn to say 'no' a bit more often too and make sure you don't overload yourself with tasks you don't really want to do.

Embrace winter: Look for the best winter has to offer. It's a great excuse to take a brisk walk in the rain, or stay in with a good book and a cup of tea. Accept that you may not be at your most productive in the winter months and fall in with the natural rhythm of the season.

Get sociable: Spending time with a friend or family member who makes you happy can really brighten your mood. Even a phone call, an email or a chat over coffee can be enough to lift your spirits, so don't be afraid to get in touch with the special people in your life, and you'll be helping to keep away their winter blues too.

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