About 20% of the UK population experience mild symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and although not diagnosed, I feel I am one of those 20%. It sucks. And often you can blame the symptoms on other happenings - anxiety on that coursework due, hunger for comfort foods and snacks because you've just moved out of home again and can decide what you want to eat etc. But it's okay to feel sorry for yourself even if others say you just need to 'get a grip' or 'just get up earlier' even though it's dark, cold and all you feel like you want to do is hibernate, when usually or in the lighter and warmer months you're quite the spring chicken.
But here are a few tips to get back at SAD and not let the winter blues get you down. It can be difficult, but try just taking one step at a time and motivate and feel good about yourself when you do achieve one step.
This is one I do find difficult for myself. The thought of even my 5 minute walk to the bus stop for university in the dark cold mornings can feel like a mountain hike. But even just a short walk outside during a lunch break can help break up the long day indoors, expose you to natural light and boost your mood.
Pop of Colour
I haven't read this tip online anywhere, but it works for me. A lot of us wear mainly black and grey in winter, which I do love, but recently I have been wearing pretty pink-ish hues as this is my favourite colour. It really does lift my mood and just adds a little brightness to my appearance and to my day. Read here why blush pinks and rose gold are so appealing.
Go to the Gym
My aim is always to go to the gym three times a week, but usually I manage two - which is still better than none. I have found a class I like (body pump) and I go with my flatmate Biba who motivates me to get out the house when I really, really can't be bothered - thanks Biba <3. I don't always look forward to the gym, even though I do like it, but the feeling after finishing a session is amazing. It honestly helps my spirits so much especially during winter when all I want to do is curl up in a ball and physical exercise or movement is the last thing on my mind. The gym is also great for winter as it is indoors, and you don't have to jog through rain, wind and darkness - which all horribly dampen my mood. Even if jogging isn't your thing (it's definitely not mine), give the gym a bash and bring along a friend too so you can motivate each other.
Light Therapy and Wake-up Light Alarm Clocks
Something I have heard of and always wanted to try, Lumie are well-known for their light therapy and dawn-simulating alarm clocks, with specific types for different reasons. Light therapy (put simply: sitting in front of an extra bright light for about 30 minutes a day) has been proven to be effective at relieving symptoms of SAD whilst the alarm clocks can help massively in getting up and allowing you a positive start to the day. If anyone has tried these techniques out, please share in the comments how you found it - I'd love to know and I'm sure others would too.
List all the Pros of Winter
At first thought this may be hard to consider, however once you start I'm sure you'll quickly be on a roll. Here are a few to start you off: Christmas, The Body Shop's festive scents, pigs in blankets, seeing family, snow, wooly jumpers, scarves, black winter boots, robins, decorations, fireplaces, pretty landscapes... Immerse yourself in what winter does have to offer and try to forget the negatives. Always try to think and see the positive in any situation.