Wouldn’t it be wonderful to book a holiday to a tropical island for the winter? A great idea, though unless you’ve just won lotto, this is beyond the reach of the majority of Australians.
Australia is a large country, and depending on where you live, the winter is going to be different. Winter in Cairns is quite the opposite of a winter in Hobart!
Something that most people struggle with however, is feeling a little downcast or “blue” from the effects of winter. Being stuck inside, eating too much comfort food and being sick with colds and flu all add to the malaise that can sometimes accompany winter.
Look on the bright side-living in Scandinavia would be a lot tougher with a much longer winter. Some people even get the condition of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder or depression from lack of sunlight). Clinics have been set up in countries with long winters where people sit in rooms that give the perception of sunlight coming from above.
Tips to combat these feelings;
- Get a flu shot around May to June. Recommendations from doctors used to be that February to March were the best times to get a flu shot, though recent studies have proven that if you wait a little longer you get a more powerful strain of flu shot. Always seek out your G.P’s approval, especially if you are prone to flu outbreaks or have underlying medical conditions.
- Don’t go straight for fatty comfort food! The cold weather can make you want to eat all the things that aren’t good for you, but try to eat healthy comfort food, like chicken soup, pumpkin soup and lots of fruit and vegetables. Instead of endless cups of tea and coffee to heat up from the inside, try half a lemon squeezed into a cup of green tea. This makes the antioxidants of the tea 4 x times more powerful. Sure, you’re not going to feel like making a salad, however steamed vegetables with a little protein will give you the vitamins and nutrients your body requires.
- Move your body! Keep active by joining a gym and also get some exercise outside. Even if it’s 15 degrees outside and sunny, you can still feel the sunshine on your skin, get your blood circulating and help to build vitamin D for strong bones. If there’s a cold wind, wear a beanie and scarf. The endorphins from exercise provide a natural high!
- Spend cosy nights with family and friends. If you’ve had an active day, eaten well and spent some time outdoors, hiding under a blanket, and watching a movie with a cup of soup is the best reward!
- Sometimes it’s just too miserable to go outside though there are plenty of activities to engage in that are free. Go to an art museum, exhibition or library when it’s cold and rainy outside. Take the time to really soak in the culture.
- Turn on the lights! Light therapy is often used for SAD and is a non-invasive treatment that involves sitting in front of bright lights. By simply turning on more lights in your environment whether at work or home, you will increase your chances of improving your mood. By brightening up your space, you will effectively lift your disposition by being surrounded by brightness through either natural sunlight or by turning on the lights.
- Book a hotel room if you are able to afford it. Many hotels in the middle of winter have special rates as people are usually “bunkered” in their homes at this time, and this is the off-season for hotels. A day trip away can also help to beat the winter blues. Having something to look forward to keeps your momentum humming along!
Overcoming the winter blues often involves giving yourself some motivation to doing something different and pushing yourself to find ways to feel better. Using some of the tips above will assist you to start moving toward a place of more energy and happiness. If there are some additional tips that work for you, we would love to hear them!