I’ve noticed over the last few weeks that a lot of the people who are coming to see me are either coming with low mood and depression, or are talking about it in addition to the main reason that brought them to me. So, I thought I would just write a few things about how to keep happy and bright at this time of year – with Christmas over, and spring still seeming a fair way away!
So, in no particular order, here are my ideas. The first is quite simple – whatever the weather, make sure you’re outside for at least 30 minutes a day. The benefits of natural, full spectrum light, even if it is not sunny, are huge. Human beings need natural light – and nowadays, we are tending to spend more time inside, staying up late with electric light, but starving ourselves of the benefits of being of full spectrum light. Incidentally, this is said to also help with your eyesight – I remember reading somewhere that farmers and others who spend lots of time outside rarely need glasses!
There are other advantages of spending time outside: it reconnects us with nature, and, as it’s unlikely you will be sitting still at this time of year, then it also gives us some exercise.
This leads on to the next thing: exercise. As we often read nowadays, exercise causes endorphins to be released into the body, which immediately makes us feel good! It can be any kind of exercise: walking, swimming, exercising in the gym, running, or my favourite nowadays dancing.
Another thing I have started to do, which may not be for everyone, is switching the shower to cold in the morning…..you can build up gradually. I started doing this a few months ago, and have found it amazing – hard at the time (particularly when it’s minus 5 outside!!), but fantastic moments later – you feel clear, positive and revitalised. (I have been known to scream with the cold – but my bathroom is a downstairs extension, so hopefully I am not alarming the neighbours!) If all of this seems too much for you at the moment, then a simple step you can take is to just wash your face in cold water.
A final suggestion is to ensure that there is some fresh air in your house – so that you are not breathing “recycled” air. Sleeping with the window open even a little bit can make a big difference to how you feel when you wake up in the morning.
Finally, I realise that not everyone reading this will be able to take up all these suggestions (some of you may not be well enough to walk outside, or to exercise) – so just incorporate into your routine what you are able to! Good Luck!