HealthFirst

Well-being wins for winter

16th January 2024

Three well-being wins for winter

by Dr Mecky McNeil

As outlined in our blog Chasing Away the Winter Blues: Unwrapping the Layers of Seasonal Affective Disorder, during the darker winter months many of us find our mood and well-being are affected.

To help you beat those winter blues, our top three well-being wins will kick-start your 2024 and see you through the cold-weather season.

1.     Light up your mood

Try to get as much natural light as possible. Day light helps us feel brighter and more alert. It resets our internal 24-hour clock and the many hormones that drive our sense of well-being. We can reap the benefits, even on a cloudy day, so wrap up warm, head out and boost your mood with the power of light. Think about your workstation and home environment too, keeping spaces light and airy. Try to sit as close to the window as you can. Some people find that light therapy can help to improve their mood. There are special light boxes designed for this and for many, using these specially designed lamps for 30 to 60 minutes a day can help.

2.     Motivate yourself to move

We all know the benefits that movement has for our health. But on these dark, cold winter days, it can be hard to motivate ourselves to get going. The very best way to overcome this inertia is to move! As soon as we start moving, we already begin to feel energised and before we know it, we are up for that activity after all. So, rather that talk yourself out of it, why not walk yourself into it. Stand up and do a few squats or lunges, jump on the spot, or dance to your favourite song. Better still, move with someone else. Why not plan a winter walk with a friend; getting outside in the daylight will boost your mood even more.

3.     Boost your va va voom with vitamin D

In the winter months, we spend more time indoors in poorly ventilated spaces and so are exposed to more infections. The colder, darker days also mean many of us struggle to get enough vitamin D from the sun which can further knock our immune system at a time when we need it to be working hard for us. Vitamin D reduces inflammation in our body, helping to boost immunity and fight off those winter viruses. It also plays an important role in regulating mood and can reduce the risk of depression. Found naturally in some foods such as oily fish, red meat, liver, and egg yolks, we also make Vitamin D when ultraviolet rays from sunlight hit our skin. In the summer months this usually generates the amount we need for good health. But in the darker winter months, it may be worth boosting levels with supplements. The general advice is that adults and children from the age of 1 year need 10 micrograms of vitamin D during autumn and winter.1 So why not boost your va va voom with some extra vitamin D this winter season to help you feel good and fight off those bugs!

References
  1. NHS UK, Vitamin D

 

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