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7 Ways to beat the winter blues

With the short days of winter, many of us feel a sluggishness we just can’t seem to shake off. Our body’s natural clock gets out of whack, and this can have us craving carbs, gaining weight and snapping at people — to name just a few symptoms. Here’s help to get you out of your slump.

Depressed woman

It’s dark when you get up and again when you leave the office, and it’s got you down. The gloomy winter weather can affect your metabolism, hormones and libido — which can lead to weight gain, low sex drive, irritability and sluggishness. But don’t despair! Moving to a sunnier climate is not your only recourse. Try some of these strategies to beat the winter blues.

Turn on the lights

Switch on the lights when you wake up to get ready for your day. If you leave them off and get ready in dim lighting, it’ll make you feel sleepy and sluggish.

Step outside during your lunch hour

Even if it’s grey and cold out, make the effort to take a stroll outside during your break so you can soak up what sunlight there is. Remember, the sun’ll already have gone down by the time you leave work, so snatch what opportunities you can.

Take vitamin D supplements

Vitamin D can help boost your mood, and with the limited sunshine exposure in the winter (sunshine stimulates our bodies to produce vitamin D), supplementing is a smart idea.

Don’t give into hiding out at home

Make the effort to see friends and schedule things you enjoy doing and that’ll help lift your spirits, such as getting a pretty manicure or going for brunch.

Try tools designed to help reduce symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

The Philips GoLite Blu Light Therapy emits a wavelength, intensity and colour of light that triggers the brain into producing chemicals that help it to function optimally in terms of the body’s internal clock. There’s also the YumaLight, a light therapy visor you wear mounted to your head for 30 minutes a day while at home going about your regular tasks.

Work up a sweat

Exercise can help boost your endorphin levels and lift your mood, so try to fit regular workouts into your schedule.

Eat your way to a better mood

All you’re craving is carbs, but this may keep you feeling depressed. Also, avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea and alcohol. Load up instead on nutritient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables and omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods, such as salmon, flax and mackerel.

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