Unlike the Monday blues, which is basically just a communal hate for returning to work after the weekend (combined with the second day dregs of a hangover), the winter blues is a scientifically proven syndrome. SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, is primarily caused by the reduction of sunlight, but it's also linked on a more instinctive level, with the fear of food availability and body heat...
If this sounds like you, then it’s time to put the sandals away, chop those festival bands off, and say goodbye to the park at lunch. You’re only lying to yourself! Instead, accept that the Starks are right - ‘winter is coming’ – and there’s nothing you or I can do about it. That being said, the following five tips will make the seasonal transition slightly easier on your body, though they won’t do anything to help against white walkers....
1. Get out of bed
It might be the last thing you want to do, especially when the rain's lashing down and you still haven’t found the perfect winter coat, but staying in bed will make you feel worse in the long run.
Not only can the disruption to your sleep cycle affect your melatonin levels, which can contribute to feeling depressed, but the sun's natural ultraviolet light is at its most beneficial during the first hours after dawn, so get outside!
Is there anything thirty minutes of cardio can’t do? If there is, we certainly don’t know about it! But as far as SAD is concerned, aerobic exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which in turn reduces stress. For a double dose of anti-winter blues, go for a run in the early hours of the morning, shortly after sunrise.
3. Eat fish
Studies have revealed that higher levels of omega 3 can help reduce the effects of SAD. This would make sense, considering how the Icelandics have an extremely fish rich diet. In addition, fish is also rich in vitamin D (the vitamin your body produces when exposed to sunlight). Take that SAD!
4. Eat complex carbs
SAD will have you craving carbs like never before. This is the body’s way of preparing for the months when once upon a time food would have been scarce. But instead of piling on the bread and pasta, opt for rice, potatoes, lentils and vegetables; complex carbohydrates keep you fuller for longer by releasing energy more slowly into the body.
5. Invest in an SAD Lamp
Yes, they exist. Originally intended for certain arctic regions, where residents see absolutely no sunlight for months at a time, these specially developed lamps emit light that emulates the sun's spectrum of wavelengths. Thirty minutes is considered the optimum session length, so pop it on while reading your morning emails, and bask in all its glory!
Feeling better already? If you've got any more tips for coping with SAD, other than shutting down and waiting for Christmas, then let us know in the comment bow below....