Although the clock change means people get a little more sleep on Sunday mornings, there is one downside.
While summer time was designed to give people One hour more daylight in the morning, the reality is that many people who work indoors, as winter approaches and nights fall, start their work in the dark and end in the dark with little opportunity to see sunlight.
But the good news is there are things you can do to stay positive during the winter months. Read on for some mood-lightening tips. However, if the winter blues is affecting your daily life, seek professional help.
Go outside, if only for a few minutes
There are tremendous benefits in being outdoors in daylight every day, if only for a few minutes. During the work week, many people feel like they are chained to their desks, but changing scenes, even for a short time, can be a real boost to the mood.
Longer walks on the weekends can also help us reconnect with nature and are a great way to get in some exercise.
Sarita Robinson, associate director of the Department of Psychology and Computer Science at the University of Central Lancashire, says that getting out into nature can be a great way to feel more positive.
“We know that green and blue spaces are very calming. This is actually an advantage wherever the surroundings look pretty. So take a stroll to a local riverside or go to a beach, ”she says.
Even if you live in a city or an urban setting, getting out and looking at your surroundings can be really helpful – especially if you are going out with a “purpose” – for example, looking at different species of birds or plants.
“You can find nature in anything,” she adds.
And if you need a mood boost indoors, a SAD light therapy lamp, which emits bright light similar to that of the sun, but without the potentially harmful UV rays, can help.
Light therapy lamps simulate sunlight – although experts recommend purchasing a product that will be exposed to at least 10,000 lux of light for best results.
Improve your sleep
Changing the clocks can affect the body’s circadian rhythm, which regulates sleep by taking cues from the environment, including sunlight and darkness. Not getting enough sleep can seriously affect your mood and make it difficult to focus or be productive.
There are things anyone can do to improve their chances of getting a good night’s sleep, such as: B. Avoiding stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, and cell phones before bed.
Catherine Seymour, director of research at the UK charity Mental Health Foundation, says getting enough sleep is one of the most important things a person can do to be prepared for the day ahead – and she advises people to prioritize.
In a 24-hour society, she says, people can go to bed at night either to scroll on their phones or to do everyday chores. However, it is more important to slow down and sleep well.
“Getting that extra hour of sleep will be much more valuable in helping you deal with whatever comes your way this winter than an extra hour to clean up the house,” she says.
“We sometimes tend to think that shaving an hour’s sleep is a really efficient way to get more time out of the day, but in the long run it catches up with us and can damage our sanity.”
If you are someone who is struggling to fall asleep, weighted blankets have also become increasingly popular with people with insomnia and anxiety. They make us feel more physically secure. It has been reported to relieve tension and reduce levels of stress hormones in the body.
And if you wake up dazed in the morning, a sleep lamp can help you feel refreshed. Similar to light therapy lamps, sleep lamps mimic sunlight. Instead of a loud, beeping alarm, a sleep lamp wakes people up as the light gradually gets brighter and brighter.
Mindfulness and meditation have been shown to help people relax and face life’s challenges with a more positive outlook. Slowing down and focusing on your surroundings can really help some people take better control of their worries and fears – something many people are experiencing more than ever because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Meditation doesn’t have to take long. If you only take five minutes to relax and focus on your breathing, you may be able to reset yourself.
CNN has a short meditation guide that you can find here that will help you release any negativity or stress and allow your body to relax.
Get your body moving and take care of it
Exercise not only keeps the body fit and healthy, but has also been shown to improve sleep, mood and prospects.
“Going outside and exercising is a great way to keep the mood – and if you want to beat the blues, exercising in nature is a great way to do it,” says Sarita Robinson.
Catherine Seymour adds that the benefits of packing up and walking are strong, even as it gets darker, colder, and rainier outside.
“There’s an old adage that there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing – and almost no one feels worse after a walk than before,” she says.
“In research, we looked at how people get along during the pandemic. The top coping mechanism is walking and spending time in nature. We know [walking] really helps people feel like they are dealing with uncertainty. ”
In addition to physical activity, it is also important to eat healthily.
In times of stress and uncertainty, reaching for junk food – and possibly alcohol – can be very tempting, but eating a healthy and balanced diet is really important.
But that doesn’t mean always being strict with yourself. It’s important to be kind to yourself too. So take this bar of chocolate with you if you feel like it – just don’t forget to eat your five a day.
Sing, dance and be stupid
When you’re feeling down, the idea of having fun may seem impossible, but when we’re being silly and fooling around we can feel less depressed about the world.
Sarita Robinson says music and a good dance help her recover.
Music has a powerful ability to change the way we feel – and she says she regularly tucks in her headphones and enjoys a solo dance.
“Since it’s getting gloomy outside, another way to get your mood up and moving is to dance while singing along to energetic music – music is a really great mood-enhancer, and if you feel a little down, turn on the radio and rock you to some power ballads are a great way to lift your spirits. They’re one of the things that lift my spirits up when I’m feeling a little down, “she says.
Catherine Seymour agrees that finding time for simple pleasures is a great way to empower yourself.
To let off steam, their children do a three-minute dance routine throughout the day called “Go Noodles” – and Seymour has been part of it since they started working from home.
“Getting out of your seat and just being silly is so good for your sanity and wellbeing. After three minutes I see my children sitting back with a smile – it improves everyone’s mood and just makes you realize that you don’t have to get stuck in a rabbit hole full of problems and seriousness, “she says.
“A bit of lightheartedness is good – regardless of whether you’re dancing around, watching comedy or playing board games. Carefree and silliness are a tonic. ”
CNN’s Allen Kim and Banu Ibrahim contributed to this report.
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