This time of year, while exciting for many reasons – hello Christmas! – is hard for a lot of people. Many find themselves struggling to varying degrees, myself included, with the dreaded winter blues. Christmas is fast approaching and soon we’ll be left in the doldrums of that dreaded post New Years slump. So it’s important to invest time in taking care of yourself during this season of long dark nights and cold days and prioritising your mental and physical health and wellbeing. Here are 6 ways I’ve been lifting my spirits in an effort to beat the winter blues.
1. Make time for your hobbies or take up new ones.
With long dark evenings screwing with our body clocks and meaning that if you work 9-5 you’re unlikely to get out and enjoy the daylight on weekdays, it’s so important to stay motivated. I know how tempting it is to crawl under the duvet as soon as you get home from work, snuggle in with carby treats and a Netflix binge. However, I’ve decided that I need to take advantage of the evenings to do hobbies that don’t require daylight. This is where taking up brush lettering, which you can read all about here, has been really fun. It’s something that I can do in an evening, while half watching TV or listening to music with a cosy jumper on and some scented candles burning. Hygge AF! It’s really satisfying to go to bed feeling like I’ve actually done something with my evening and also see progress in my brush lettering skills.
At the weekends trying to make the most of the natural light and getting a vitamin D boost is key. I love photography so I’m trying to drag myself outside to not only get some fresh air and daylight but to take some pretty pictures. Although the lack of blue skies can be annoying, the crisp winter air makes for dramatic pictures. I’ve also recently had lots of my Instagram photos printed which I’m planning to scrapbook and do creative things with. I also really enjoy tennis and have been taking Chicago Tennis Lessons. It helps beat the cold when I’m running around on a court and if the weather is intolerable then I just use the indoor court!
2. Pamper yourself
A long bath or hot shower, treating yourself to new body lotion and skincare products or taking extra time to do your makeup on the weekend. It’s important in the winter when you can be feeling low to take care of yourself. It’s tempting to go into hibernation mode until the days get longer, but investing in your health is the key way to keep your spirits up this season. I’ve upped my vitamin regime to keep my moods balanced and any office bugs at bay. With the cold air it’s also important to up your skincare game. I’ve started using night cream with retinol in to keep wrinkles at bay (I use La Roche Posay Redermic R*) as well as a higher SPF sunblock (I use Clinique City Block*). I take time out before bed to give my skin a proper pampering ensuring it retains its moisture and doesn’t get dull due to bad weather. It not only makes sure my skins it great condition but it boosts my mood too!
3.Write down things that made you happy and things you are grateful for daily
Make a point everyday to take some time out and quickly jot down all the things you are grateful for that day. It doesn’t have to be too deep or specific, it can even be that you were grateful for the rain stopping long enough that you could go grab some lunch, or you’re grateful for your random friend who left a nice comment on your Instagram pic which brightened your day. Also make a list of little things from the day that made you happy, tiny things like seeing a cute dog on your commute.
If you have a Bullet Journal incorporating gratitude logs can be really helpful. You’ll find that when you are writing and reviewing lists you’ll start to appreciate that, despite how overwhelmed or anxious you may be feeling, there really are a lot of wonderful things that happen in your daily life. Seeing them listed really helps you to appreciate the positive things in the season.
4.Watch / read / listen to something that makes you laugh
After my breakup I made a point to start reading inspiring books by funny, clever and inspirational women. I read Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl* and Tina Fey’s Bossypants*. Next on my list is Amy Poehler’s Yes Please* and Caitlyn Moran’s How to Be a Woman*. The two I’ve read are great, Tina’s especially is so funny it put me in such a good mood before bed.
I also listened to the My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast which I can’t recommend enough. It’s the best way to start the day. I’d pop it on my phone on my walk to work and apart from getting strange looks from passersby for laughing out loud, I’d arrive at work in the best mood. Laughter really is the best medicine!
Alas I don’t have the savings to just nip back to Railay Beach in Thailand which is where that pic was taken, but I have started planning fun things for next year when the weather’s better. Having events and things to focus on, plan and even save for really helps you feel like Spring is coming. Whether it’s booking a holiday, making a savings plan to purchase something you’ve had your eye on or researching a festival you’re thinking about going to, keeping busy and looking ahead to something fun can take your mind off the long, cold, dark evenings. I’m not saying wish your life away but having something to focus on when you’re feeling a bit lost can really help. 🙂
6.Listen to your body and stop beating yourself up
So you didn’t cross anything off your to do list today. Or you meant to go outside and run some errands but instead you stayed inside, wrapped in a blanket binge watching Gilmore Girls. Who cares! I am massively hard on myself and constantly feel guilty if I haven’t accomplished as much as I intended to on a given day, I really beat myself up if I haven’t crossed off my whole to do list, run all my errands and updated my social and blog. However, this season I decided no. I’m going to listen to my body and do what it tells me. If it tells me it’s tired and doesn’t want to run around all day I’m going to respect that and listen. And more than that I’m not going to beat myself up that night for not having ‘done’ anything. If you suffer with low mood during the winter then listen to your body and take care of it. It’s not lazy to spend a day in bed dozing if that’s what your body is telling you it needs. We naturally go into hibernation mode at this time of year and with all the winter colds and bugs making the rounds don’t feel guilty for prioritising your physical and mental health over ‘doing’ things. Remember, it’s your to do list and it’s there to make your life easier, not make you feel guilty.
Those are just some of the ways I keep my spirits up over the season, do you have any tips for anyone who finds winter difficult?
Love, Sarah x
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