The proper mindset
Even if you don’t like winter, its short days, cold nights and sometimes gloomy weather, the first thing you can do to deal with it, is accept it and embrace it.
We live in Cyprus, after all, where the weather even during winter is quite sunny. But on the more difficult and cold days, think about firing up your fireplace, wrap yourself in a blanket and watch a movie, drink hot chocolate, and eat a nice soup. There are things that winter offers us that are good for our mood! This is what the Scandinavians call “hygge”.
It’s good to get outside, despite the dark and cold. There’s a definite link between being outside and having a better mood, so do whatever you need to do–get a warm coat, get a funky hat, get some warm boots–to make it comfortable to go out and get some fresh air every day. Go to Troodos, walk, ski, enjoy the snow, enjoy the beautiful greenery. Or even, go and walk by the beach and spend some time getting a good dose of iodine!
Get some sun
Exposure to bright light can help people who find winter’s darkness hard to take. Although you can get a light exposure lamp to use inside, getting outside in the first couple of hours in the morning can be an easier choice especially if you combine it with some exercise-morning walk! Discover’s your city’s park ( or beaches) and make morning walk a winter habit.
Check your vitamin D levels
Low levels of vitamin D– even with Cyprus’ sun, if we work from home we forget to go outside- can lead to lowered moods. Ask your doctor to test your vitamin D levels, and see whether a supplement might help. Eating oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, or tuna can help boost your Vitamin D intake without having to take a pill.
Make sure you get enough sleep–but not too much
We all hear that it’s important to get enough sleep, but it’s also important not to sleep too much. Try and keep your sleep between 7 and 9 hours each night to keep your mood stable, as too much sleep can make an already depressed mood worse. Of course, not enough sleep can make you unhappy as well, so do your best to get just enough–whatever that means for you.
Emphasize complex carbohydrates, protein (especially oily fish), and fresh fruits and veggies. Although winter makes it tempting to chow down on simple carbs, do your best to limit them. You’ll feel better in the long run. That being said, don’t get down on yourself if you do indulge–guilt won’t do anything for your mood either.