Beat the winter blues


While the summer may seem to be ideal for getting out and about, now is the time to be outside. As the seasons change and the sunshine fades away, all the beauty of Autumn appears. Trees take on the familiar reds and golds we associate with this time of the year and leaves begin to fall.

Rather than hibernate indoors, taking a stroll in the countryside can do much to lift our mood as the nights draw in. The colours of Autumn can inspire us and lift our spirits, so put on your wellies and head out into the countryside. Taking exercise and making the most of the light available can help fend off the “winter blues.” According to the SAD Association, about seven per cent of people are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of winter depression and a further 17 per cent have mild symptoms or “winter blues”.

Waking up exhausted and wanting to sleep more is common in Autumn. This is due to longer hours of darkness which increases the amount of melatonin, the sleep hormone. If you can, stick to a routine of going to bed and getting up at the same time.

Shorter days and lack of sunshine reduces the body’s production of serotonin, which may influence mood in a way that may lead to depression.  Seasonal food contains serotonin-boosting carbs such as potatoes, pasta and rice and can help stave off low mood.

Just because it’s cold outside don’t just curl up in front of the TV. Certainly an evening watching a feel good film or chatting over home cooked food can be nice and make you feel better about life, but seeing friends is a must. Numerous studies have shown that spending time in the company of others prevents us feeling isolated and stops us getting down in the dumps.

Finally think about getting fit with endorphin boosting exercise, not only will this be good for you but you will have a three month head start on those who join the gym in the New Year!

Until next time. Steve

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Steve Clifford                                                                                                                           Senior Accredited Integrative Psychotherapist.                                                                       Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist.