Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift shares five practical tips to fend off the blues this season.
It’s that time of year again. When the days start to get cold and the sunlight feels like it’s in shorter supply, it’s easy to get caught up in feelings of sadness, exhaustion, and just generally feeling ‘blah’.
But unless you’re planning on escaping to a warm tropical island until October, we recommend trying these five tips for lifting your spirits and beating the winter blues.
When the mornings and nights are chilly, it’s tempting to want to hibernate under the covers or with a warm cup of tea on the couch, but a little movement can work wonders for your mood. Exercise releases serotonin in your brain which helps to regulate mood, sleep, libido, and appetite, warding off depression. Not only that, but a little physical activity releases mood-enhancing endorphins which can help silence your thoughts and reframe a negative mindset. Opt for a gym class or hit the treadmill.
When winter sets in, a Friday night in watching the telly can be very tempting, and while there is nothing wrong with a little R&R, it’s important to make time for the people you care about. Spending time with family and friends is a sure way to lighten your mood and generate positive thoughts. Organise a games night or movie marathon.
Don’t be a sleepy head
Both too little and too much sleep are no good. When it’s cold and dark outside, it’s normal to want to cash in on the zzzzzs, but it’s important to maintain a regular sleep schedule. Getting too much sleep (more than 10 hours a night) can contribute to your exhaustion and can cause memory and thinking problems. Try and go to sleep and wake at the same time every day, even weekends, and aim for at least six hours.
Embrace a little colour
Colour therapy is a natural way to lift your spirits. Brightening your room, office and your wardrobe with pops of colour can help brighten your mood on those drab winter days. Vibrant hues like yellow, orange and green can promote joy and laughter and tranquillity.
When you’re feeling a little down it’s normal to want to turn to comfort foods, but it’s important to avoid easy energy boosts – and crashes. Pack main meals with foods rich in amino acid tryptophan, a key building block for serotonin (the happy hormone). Chicken, oily fish, dairy foods, soya, nuts and seeds are good choices, and vitamin B6 – found in brown rice, wholemeal wheat, beans a pulses will help you process it. Get a daily dose of foods rich in vitamin D, which is associated with better moods and can be found in eggs, oily fish, and fortified cereals.
So on those dreary, cold days – smile, focus on what makes you happy and use these five tips to feel happy all year long. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at www.cancerqld.org.au or call Cancer Council on 13 11 20.