7 compelling tips on how to avoid the winter blues and boost your wellbeing
The nights are drawing in, making daylight less accessible during the winter months.
The changing season disrupts hormones, such as serotonin, which regulates sleep, mood, and feelings of well-being, Hence, this disruption may cause feelings of tiredness, changes in sleep patterns or loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy. How do we avoid the winter blues that will creep onto us?
How do we ignite light and brightness into our winter days as well as keep our energy and motivation levels flowing until the spring season?
November is also the month of Diwali, the festival of light. Therefore, let us all keep the light glowing in our bodies and brighten our lives and those of our loved ones too.
Here are 7 compelling ways we can do this.
1 Candle meditation
You will gain several useful benefits from this practice.
This technique will help you calm down your mind. It is an excellent exercise for training the mind to focus. Improved concentration can help you in every area of your life. You will boost physical and mental wellbeing as well as acquire inner peace.
- Light a candle in a safe place. Make sure you have considered fire risk and safety.
- Dim the light in the room, so that the flame of the candle will stand out.
- Put the candle on a table and sit on a chair in front of it. It would be more convenient if you put the candle on the same eye level as your eyes. If you prefer to sit on the floor cross-legged, put the candle on the floor in front of you.
- Position the candle about at about 50 centimetres from you.
- Take care to sit with your back straight.
- Take a few slow deep breaths.
- For a few moments, relax your body and ease any tension in it.
- Now, focus your attention on the flame of the candle. This is all what you need to do, just look at the flame as it flickers and changes shape and colour.
- Try to hold your sight and attention solely on the flame of the candle, without thinking of anything else or looking at anything else in the room. Just immerse your complete attention in the flame of the candle.
- If you catch yourself thinking unrelated thoughts, bring your mind back to the candle.
- Blink, if you feel that you need to blink.
Start with 5 minutes a day, and gradually, as it becomes easier, lengthen the time to 10 minutes a day.
Everyone can benefit from this technique, not just people who meditate. Students, business people, athletes, workers in every area, and people of all ages will find it beneficial. However, do not overdo the exercise, especially as a beginner, and be careful not to strain your eyes.
2 Stay connected
Join a book club or take up an activity that you are passionate about that offers an opportunity for stimulating conversation and fun with like-minded people.
If it is super cold to be outside or unsafe to drive, we can FaceTime with friends and extended family members or set up Zoom calls with them instead of watching hours of mindless television.
Not all of us will be in a position to afford a winter holiday to a sunny destination. Try short local outings or visit friends and relatives where possible.
Social interaction and a change of scenery will uplift and inject fresh energy into you.
3 Use essential oils
A review published in June 2020 in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine by Dr Kalayjian indicates that essential oils could potentially help lessen symptoms of low mood and build wellbeing.
Essential oils could potentially influence the area of the brain that’s responsible for controlling moods and the body’s internal clock that influences sleep and appetite.
The safest ways to use aromatherapy include body oils, aroma sticks. If in double, consult an aromatherapist.
4 Regular routine
Keeping a regular schedule will expose you to light at consistent and predictable times as well as give structure to your day. Try going to bed and getting up in the mornings at a regular time. Also, eating at regular intervals can help you to avoid overeating.
5 Physical activity
Regular exercise can help build physical and mental resilience. It can also help offset the weight gain that is common in winter. Be more vigilant about sticking with your exercise and yoga routines during winter.
Outdoor exercise when it is daylight is most helpful but if you can’t exercise outside because it’s cold or snowy, try using a treadmill, stationary bike, set close to a window at home or at the gym.
Go outside as much as you can during the day to take advantage of what sunlight there is. On cold days, wrap up warmly and take a short walk around the block at midday or soon after when the daylight is brightest.
Go out with relatives and friends at a local park, play outdoor sports or games, or go on walks when the weather allows instead of meeting indoors.
6 Vitamin D booster
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) states that low levels of vitamin D caused by low dietary intake of this vitamin or not enough sunlight exposure can disrupt our wellbeing.
Therefore, ensuring you get enough sunlight during the day and incorporating vitamin D-rich foods into your diet may help.
Talk to your doctor about testing your vitamin D levels and whether supplements would be right for you.
7 Brighten the indoors
When you’re indoors, keep your blinds open to let in as much natural light as you can. If you are working remotely, choose a workspace near a window or source of natural light if possible. Set your desk, so you are looking out of the window as you work.
Light candles in the rooms where it is safe. Pick up fresh flowers during your supermarket shop and keep brightly coloured fragrant fresh flowers around the house.
I hope these 7 tips will boost your physical as well as your mental health and make your winter months light and bright, so you are feeling fresh and full of energy until the spring season.
All techniques are passed on in good faith. The author is not responsible for any contraindications. If in any doubt please consult your doctor, before using the tips.
About Hansa Pankhania
Hansa is an acclaimed author and a renowned coach and speaker on wellbeing, stress reduction and resilience. She is an expert in managerial and corporate wellbeing and has provided coaching and consultancy services to over 300 companies. Hansa’s passion is to help companies save money lost through stressful situations and develop mindful, thriving workplace cultures. She has published seven books including a series on ‘Stress to Success’, as well as books for children.
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