7 January 2010
Staying positive during the winter months
In the UK we may be more used to greyer skies than other countries, but winter can still sometimes come as a bit of a shock. During the cold, dark days it can be harder than usual to stay positive.
In the UK we may be more used to greyer skies than other countries, but winter can still sometimes come as a bit of a shock. During the cold, dark days it can be harder than usual to stay positive. But there are some things you can do to stay positive – without wishing away the days until spring.
The key to keeping a positive mindset is staying active, in lots of different ways. It may be tempting to hide under a duvet until the daffodils are out, but that’s just a downward spiral to feeling miserable for months.
Get out and about
Keeping your diary full is a great way to boost your spirits during the winter months. By surrounding yourself with friends, getting out the house, attending parties – anything to stay social. We know it’s a lot easier to pop out for a drink with friends on a warm summer’s night, but by making a little effort you’ll feel a lot better for it. Try some of these ideas:
• Arrange to meet a friend for lunch on a regular basis – it doesn’t need to be anything elaborate or expensive. The act of a regular meet-up with someone whose company you enjoy will keep you feeling energised.
• Get a group of friends together to do something new – whether that’s forming a team for your local pub quiz or visiting a local gallery, the combination of doing something new with people you like will make those dark nights seem much more fun.
• Join a club, group or class. Anything that gets you out the house and interacting with new people has huge emotional and psychological benefits.
Getting out the house in winter is a bit like persuading yourself to do exercise. It can be tough at first, but once you’re there you realise it’s nowhere near as bad as you built it up to be in your head – and in fact can be great fun.
Keeping active can be even harder than keeping social in the winter. When the choice is between a brisk winter walk and a warm sofa, the warm sofa always seems ten times more appealing. But, physical activity boosts your energy levels. We’re not saying you’ll be bouncing out of bed every dark morning, but regular exercise certainly makes it easier to get up.
• Go for a walk or run in the park. Even if this just consists of a brisk 15-minute stroll in your lunchtime, it’s much better than doing nothing, and will set you up for the afternoon.
• If you don’t fancy braving exercise outdoors join a gym. Yes, this might seem pretty obvious, but January is when the gyms are begging for your custom and there are offers on anywhere. You don’t need to join a posh health club to get a good workout though – enquire at your local leisure centre, their facilities are probably much better than you think.
• Go out in the day and get some sunlight. As sufferers of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) know, sunlight is a very important factor in mood elevation.
Get your brain working
There can be some great television on in the colder months, but don’t just slump in front of the latest drama in the hope you’ll wish away time until spring. Once your brain goes into hibernation, the gloom of winter can really set in. Try these suggestions to keep your mind active:
• Set yourself the task of thinking about on area of your life you’d like to improve. Maybe your career could do with a kick-start – are you happy with the way it’s going? Think about the new skills you could gain in order to get a promotion or a new job.
• Pick up a book…then talk about it. A book club can be a great way to get your mind working and meet new people. If there isn’t one near you, start your own.
• Take up a hobby – this can be anything from learning origami from a book to doing an Open University course in something you’ve always wanted to know about.
It’s not hard to see that these ideas all come from one key concept – keeping energised and active. By fighting the desire to retreat under the duvet you’ll feel better mentally and physically, and emerge into the spring feeling great.