The nights are drawing in a lot faster and I can already feel as though SAD is creeping up on me. Seasonal Affective Disorder is something that a lot of people especially here in the UK experience. I certainly experience the 'winter blues' and it can sometimes have a knock-on effect with my work load. However I've learnt a few things can really help shift these uncomfortable feelings to enable me to feel better!
1. Fix your sleeping pattern
The worst part about Autumn and Winter is that you'll end up waking up when it's dark and returning from work when it's dark. This plays havoc with your mood, especially after having such a gorgeous summer here in the UK. I've found that getting a good 7-9 hours sleep really makes you feel more awake and ready to face the day. Try not to oversleep though because I've found this has the opposite effect.
2. Go the gym
So to many, the idea of dragging yourself to the gym when you're feeling low is pretty much an impossible task. I cannot tell you enough at how much this could really help! Working up a sweat can really make you feel ten times happier. I've found this has worked every time, whether it's been after a stressful day at work, when I'm feeling groggy or when I have a hangover. Sweat.it.out.
3. Get Vitamin D
It's apparently proven we get most of our Vitamin D from sunlight, especially around September time. Now that the month of September has vanished in the blink of an eye, I'm trying to find more alternatives to getting Vitamin D into my body. Myself and my friends have always joked that British people are so moody because of the lack of sun. Whether this is scientifically correct or just placebo, I'm not sure, but I believe it's true. Therefore look for Vitamin D in foods, including oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines, as well as red meat and eggs. Another option is to take dietary supplements.
4. Treat yourself
So maybe you haven't got all the money in the world and therefore can't buy yourself a new designer bag, but hey who said a treat has to be expensive. Anything from a cheeky Starbucks coffee with extra whipped cream, a new dvd or book, or even getting yourself a takeout can really boost your spirits. There's all this talk about self care and we should be doing more of it. Be selfish and go grab yourself a full fat, hot chocolate with extra marshmallows from Costa(lot).
5. Have some alone time or surround yourself with loved ones
So this is completely down to you as an individual. I know I'd be happy on my own sat in a coffee shop or having a meal for one in a restaurant. However others would hate the thought of dining alone. When you are feeling low, take yourself out of the situation that's causing it. Perhaps run a bath, go for a walk in your local park or just spend a good few hours binge watching Netflix or getting stuck into a book. Vice versa, if you find your happiness sparks up by being surrounded by others then get on the phone to your friend/family member for a spontaneous meet up. If family/friends are too far away, use the wonderful technology we have around us and have a Skype session.
6. Have a clear out
Messy rooms equal a messy mind. Well that's something I've heard and which has always stuck with me. Every now and again, de-clutter your main living space. Whether you prefer that as your bedroom, bathroom, living room or kitchen, it's always satisfying having a clear out. You know when you see that one item you've been meaning to chuck out for ages but you never do. Get that spatula or those ripped/tired pair of shoes and just CHUCK THEM OUT! Gawd it's super therapeutic and it's almost as if you are offloading some negative feelings with it to.
7. Write it down
I know it may seem a little old fashioned (however I am actually gutted I don't do this) but my Mum has written in a diary every day since she was a teenager. I've read a lot of her diaries and I find myself laughing, crying and finding an incredible feeling of relief at some of the passages written in these diaries. Whenever I feel upset or frustrated, writing blog posts is a way of handling it for me. Perhaps simply writing down your feelings, screwing it up in a ball and chucking it in the bin will make those feelings less overwhelming? Give this a go until you find your coping mechanism.
8. Cut something out
You may find that certain foods or drinks you consume have an overall effect on your mood. I've discovered that too much junk food can make me feel sluggish which in turn makes me lazy to do work and that in turn makes me feel sad. Look at what you eat and drink on a daily basis, cut it out and see how you feel. If it makes no difference put it back in and cut out something else. It's a culinary journey of self discovery my friends. Revel in it.
9. Find a new hobby
I realise that some of these points may clash slightly but I'm not saying that every point on this list would be suitable for you. Heck, maybe none of them will help. However, if you find yourself doing the same things day in and day out, it's enough to drive any sane person crazy. Therefore instead of doing that same thing, do something new. It could be something big like taking new language classes, braving a group class at the gym, reading or watching something you wouldn't do, facing a fear or a new sport. Just do something new and exciting. There's always more than just what's on your doorstep!
10. And finally? Ask for help
I know I've touched on this one earlier by surrounding yourself with other people but don't be afraid to ask for advice or for help on your feelings. It's not weak or a desperation for attention. I don't feel it's right to bottle up our emotions as it can effect how we treat others and how others treat us. Find someone to talk to (and that includes any human being, animal, object or someone who's passed on). Interesting fact that I've never told anyone, I used to have a life-sized stuffed dog (it was a toy) that was called Robbie and I would talk to Robbie when I was upset and felt I couldn't speak to anyone. I cuddled this toy and spoke to it even though it couldn't speak back. If a stuffed toy makes you feel better, talk to that stuffed toy. #stuffedtoysforthewin
I hope you enjoyed this little pick me up. If some of these points have helped, let me know in the comments below!
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