Ways to help cope with winter/our current weather..
I really didn't think this topic would be playing on my mind now we're in March but as I sit and look outside the window all I can see is snow, which is increasing in depth as each hour passes. I can't help but think about those who are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or others where winter/weather affects them. They say people with SAD are at their worse December-February, so how are they coping with it being March but feeling like December? Do you know anyone who has SAD?
I've looked at ways we can help our mental health during weather like this (regardless of whether you're usually affected or not) and created some little pointers! (Note: these are purely pointers and not direct medical advice, if you require medical advice then please seek help from a GP.)
1. Exercise- I know this is the last thing you probably want to hear but the link between physical exercise and mental health has widely been researched and it's been proven that regular exercise helps your general wellbeing. Can't currently get to your gym or out for a run? No problem! Try some home High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or a less intense home workout- google/youtube/instagram are flooded with home workouts each day. It may feel like a chore to begin with but once you get the "exercise buzz" it'll feel effortless and enjoyable. Don't believe me? Try it for yourself!
2. Natural sunlight- There is a distinct link between sunlight and mental health, this could be for a variety of reasons but the main one researched is the lack of vitamin D. Heading outside for a midday walk in the sunshine can do wonders for your mental health without you realising, I understand it's harder when it's currently snowing but getting out when you can is key. You could also try sitting by the window, other articles recommend painting your house pale colours to reflect more sunlight but it depends how much time and money you have for that one!
3. Food!- Keep an eye on what you're eating, in the winter months we go into 'hibernation mode' where we crave snuggling on the sofa or in bed and comfort food. Although comfort food may provide you with satisfaction, usually this satisfaction only lasts a little while, then the craving creeps back in, then you eat more and so on.. (you get the picture). Avoiding or cutting down on food that spikes your blood sugar is recommended as this can have a direct impact to your mental health. Foods such as pasta, refined sugars, alcohol and caffeine all play havoc with our blood sugar levels so reaching for foods high in protein or fibre instead will help balance out the sugar levels.
4.Vitamins- Linked to point 3, make sure you're eating a variety of different foods to ensure you're getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals that our body's require. Multivitamins will always be recommended, particularly in winter months where we lack certain vitamins such as vitamin D. If you're especially fatigue or tired (which is common in winter months as we wake up to darkness and usually go home from work in darkness!) then it may be worth speaking to the doctor about your iron levels, again, food and supplements can help if you find out your iron levels are low.
My pointers are not gospel and I don't intend them to be, if you have any concerns over your physical health then seek help and advice from your GP rather than from this blog, however, mental health I can help you with! Feel free to contact me for a brief consultation on how I can help you.
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