Clocks go back on Sunday, and whilst this means an extra hour in bed it also marks the end of Daylight Savings Time. Longer nights and darker mornings cause many of us to suffer from the dreaded Winter Blues: symptoms including hibernating under the duvet and experiencing the energy levels of a sulky teenager.
Luckily, there are a few tricks you can take to ease your transition into autumn. Here we list our 11 favourites.
1) Exercise: Apart from all the endorphins rushing around your body when you exercise, getting outdoors in the fresh air will also benefit your mood; even on cloudy days the light is significantly brighter than artificial sources. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week.
2) Light Therapy: Light therapy is reported to work on 80% of all cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is the medical term for the winter blues. Doctors recommend sitting near your light therapy box for 30 minutes each morning.
3) Dawn simulation alarm clock: These ingenious devices are designed to mimic natural dawn by producing a light that gets brighter and brighter for half an hour before you want to wake up, so you don’t have to be jolted out of bed by sudden alarm.
4) Eat more complex carbs and grains: Complex carbs take longer to digest, so they don’t cause spikes in blood sugar and rollercoaster moods which you experience with simple carbs. Examples of great complex carbs include brown rice and lentils.
5) Take a winter holiday: Booking your main holiday in the winter will give you both a psychological life and a physical one. Visit the southern hemisphere for intense sunshine, or go skiing for a fun break (combining sun at high altitude with exercise).
6) Limit your caffeine intake: Coffee and tea are dehydrating, whilst fizzy drinks will spike your insulin levels and drop your blood sugar: drink water instead.
7) St John’s Wort: St John’s Wort is an over the counter herbal medicine which is used to treat symptoms of mental health problems, including SAD. But it can interfere with oral contraceptives, so speak to your doc first.
8) Eat dark chocolate: No, we aren’t talking about needlessly binging on Galaxy bars- chocolate contains a natural amino acid called tryptophan which may increase your serotonin levels. The higher the cocoa content the better it is for you.
9) Treat yourself: Feeling down? Treat yourself to a massage to reduce anxiety and muscle tension. Take a look at our SpaBreaks discount codes to see if you can get a cheap spa day with a treatment.
10) Fresh flowers: It’s a proven fact that fresh flowers help decrease stress, improve your mood and motivation, so splash out on a bouquet for your bedroom.
11) Choose blue light: Reports show that blue light may be slightly more effective than other types for treating SAD, so when you choose a light box go blue to beat the blues!
What are your tactics for beating the winter blues?