The Winter Blues

Thursday 27 Oct

Don’t you just hate the winter blues? The lack of vitamin C, the cold and dark days, the lack of motivation…

We all experience the concept of SAD on some spectrum during the winter months. It’s scientific:

  • First of all, the sleep hormone, melatonin, is increased by lack of light – as light functions to inhibit the production of this hormone in the body (hence why sunlight and waking up earlier for instance is vital for energising ourselves during summer). So, during the winter months, when there is less light, we produce more melatonin and thus feel sleepier and more lethargic.
  • Secondly, we lack vitamin C and D from the sun. This lack of vitamins affects our internal body clock, making it harder to wake up in the morning. They also bring a drop in the happy hormone, serotonin, causing this low mood.
  • Thirdly, colder temperatures impact our muscles and blood flow, causing more lethargy.

To put in simply, we feel unmotivated during the winter months and a lot of the time we want to stay in bed when the alarm goes off.

We’re mammals. We’re supposed to hibernate during winter! Instead, we continue on with our lives as normal, a huge chunk of us wondering why we feel so low during winter.

Perhaps it’s a social construct, or an expectation, a norm, that we go into these lower moods during winter. I have just explained the scientific side, but hey, there’s the argument of nature-nuture again. Biology has an influence, but so does society.

However, we want to avoid this spiral each year. It is very hard to avoid this, especially once the low mood comes around and the motivation dissipates. But, we can do this.

Here are some tips + ideas for beating the Winter Blues:

  1. Do something for yourself everyday. Focus on this relationship with yourself and building this connection to a deeper understanding of who you are and your emotions. This way, you can learn to control + understand your emotions instead of allowing them to control you
  2. Think: energy givers! What makes you happy? Friends, family, Tv shows, favourite songs, coffee, pumpkin spice, sport. Jumping around like an idiot dancing to your favourite upbeat playlist? What gives you that boost of happiness in your daily life? Focus on that and bring more of it into your life
  3. Call + visit friends/family. This may not be as hard as you thought during winter, as there are so many seasonal holidays – Halloween, Bonfire Night (UK), Thanksgiving (US/CAN), Christmas – leaving not much room for excuses not to see family. Just a simple chat about random things with old friends can do wonders, as it takes your mind off today. Or, better yet, talk about what you’re going through. Chances are, they can relate.
  4. Romanticise your life. I talk about this so much, but I am not sorry! You only have one life, so go and live it. At uni recently I have found myself wishing away days again, in anticipation of the weekend or the next event, “the next best thing.” Live in the moment. Turn monotony into luxury. Turn the mundane things into heavenly activities – your morning coffee watching the news in bed, you commute to work. Own it. Live it.
  5. Stop complaining! Moaning + moping only brings your mood down. It’s easy to get into the cycle of complaining, but it is so damaging. Once you do this, you start looking for the negatives in a situation, instead of what I’m teaching you to do and find the positives. Be grateful for your life and where you are today.

My final tip?

Recognise not every day will be (or can be) good. You are going to have bad days. More so over these next few months. The best thing we can do is accept that. If on some of these days, we can pull through and turn it around into a good day, then fabulous. However, it is so much harder to do during winter. We cannot see the good and the strengths without having lows and cons to compare them to. This is what I refer to over and over again as the Golden Median (coined first by Aristotle): the idea that everything comes back to this middle point between ‘good’ and ‘bad’. We have to know hardships to know reward and joy. We have to suffer to learn how to live again. Our society is constructed in this way and we can only blame ourselves for this complexity.

Final words of advice:

Live your life to its fullest as you only have one. Be grateful for what you have, and where you are and how far you have come already in this journey. You’re 8-year-old-self would look up at you in awe right now in how much you have achieved, even if you don’t see it 🙂

Be kind to yourself, loves.


Pepetoe ❤

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