It comes as no surprise that the shorter, darker days can have a negative impact on our mood and energy levels. Adele recently shared that she opts to live in sunny LA rather than the UK as she suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder. When we shared this on Instagram, it resonated with thousands of you! Whilst jetting off in pursuit of the sun is most certainly appealing, it is not possible for all of us, and it is not the only solution to combatting winter blues. Here are our top tips for boosting your mood and energy at home this winter:
1. Make the most of the available daylight. Whilst many of us wake in the dark and return home in the dark during the winter months, getting outside during the daylight hours that we have, can have huge mood-boosting powers. Why not wrap up warm and take a quick stroll outside during your lunch break?
2. Prioritise nutrition. This time of year, the temptation to boost energy with a quick fix - like nibbling on a chocolate orange while sipping a hot pumpkin spiced latte - might be strong. However, this fleeting high is often succeeded by a crash, thanks to the sugar and caffeine double whammy. To sustain energy levels during the colder months, introducing a more holistic approach to nutrition will help support your overall well-being and mood:
- Aim for regular, balanced meals and snacks to maintain consistent energy levels throughout the day. Include a healthy mix of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) in each meal to provide sustained energy. Think whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats! Opting for complex carbohydrates like whole grains, sweet potatoes and legumes helps prevent sudden spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, as they release energy gradually.
- Avoid skipping meals, as this can lead to energy dips.
- Kickstart your day with a protein-rich breakfast, perhaps Greek yogurt with fruit, nuts, and a sprinkle of low-sugar granola or a savoury egg or tofu scramble with dark leafy greens, tomatoes and crumbled feta cheese.
- Include omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods like fatty fish, flaxseeds and walnuts into your diet to support brain health and maintain sustained energy. Sprinkle seeds and nuts on your breakfast, soups and salads for an extra nutrient boost.
- When it comes to caffeine, be mindful of its half-life (the time it takes for half of the caffeine to be eliminated from your body), which averages around 3 to 5 hours. To optimise your chances of getting a good night's sleep, it's generally recommended to stop consuming caffeine several hours before bedtime. Explore caffeine-free herbal teas, such as peppermint or ginger, which can be both soothing and invigorating without the side effects of caffeine.
- And lastly, don't forget the importance of staying hydrated, even on colder days, as it is crucial for preventing fatigue.
3. Use a bright light therapy lamp. When daylight hours are limited and time indoors increases, bright light therapy devices such as Lumie Vitamin L provide a natural boost to mood, energy and alertness through the simulation of sunlight. Kickstart your day in the right way with bright light!
4. Take vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D is produced in the skin through interaction with sunlight, and it has a significant impact on mood and energy. During the autumn and winter months, it is advised by the UK government that everybody should consider daily vitamin D supplementation.
5. Optimise your sleep environment. Waking with light boosts mood, energy and productivity but this is not always possible during the dark winter mornings. Using a wake-up light such as Lumie Bodyclock Luxe 750DAB allows you to wake feeling refreshed. Its sunset feature also promotes a natural sleep response at night, enabling you to naturally drift off.
So, when jetting off to the sun is not on the cards, we don’t have to let the winter blues win. Following these five top tips provides an effective stepping stone for boosting mood and energy; however, if you are experiencing persistent low mood, it is important to speak to a GP.