Top tips to beat the winter blues
Apparently, a university professor precisely calculated the most depressing day of the year, using the following formula:
Where weather=W, debt=d, time since Christmas=T, time since failing our new year’s resolutions=Q, low motivational levels=M and the feeling of a need to take action=Na. ‘D’ is not defined in the release, nor are units.
However, all may not be as it seems here, as it turns out this was in fact a PR stunt by Sky Travel.
Whatever the truth – there is a more serious side to this with a condition known as SAD – seasonal affective disorder which affects around two million people in the UK and more than 12 million people across northern Europe. It can affect people of any age, including children.
Key symptoms: depression, sleep problems, lethargy, overeating, irritability
and feeling down and unsociable.
According to Sue Pavlovich, of the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association (SADA), these 10 tips could help. "Everyone's affected differently by SAD, so what works for one person won't for another," she says. "But there's usually something that will help."
1 Keep active
Research has shown that a daily one-hour walk in the middle of the day could be as helpful as light treatment for coping with the winter blues.
2 Get outside
Go outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible, especially at midday and on brighter days. Inside your home, choose pale colours that reflect light from outside, and sit near windows whenever you can.
3 Keep warm
If your symptoms are so bad that you can't live a normal life, see your GP for medical help. Being cold makes you more depressed. It's also been shown that staying warm can reduce the winter blues by half.
Keep warm with hot drinks and hot food. Wear warm clothes and shoes, and aim to keep your home between 18C and 21C (or 64F and 70F degrees).
4 Eat healthily
A healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy and stop you putting on weight over winter. Balance your craving for carbohydrates, such as pasta and potatoes, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
5 See the light
Some people find light therapy effective for seasonal depression. One way to get light therapy at home in winter is to sit in front of a light box for up to two hours a day.
6 Take up a new hobby
It could be anything, such as playing bridge, singing, knitting, joining a gym, keeping a journal or writing a blog. The important thing is that you have something to look forward to.
7 See your friends and family
Make an effort to keep in touch with people you care about and accept any invitations you get to social events, , even if you only go for a little while.
8 Talk it through
Talking treatments such as counselling, psychotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you cope with symptoms. See your GP for information on what's available locally on the NHS and privately,
9 Join a support group
Sharing your experience with others who know what it's like to have SAD is very therapeutic and can make your symptoms more bearable.
10. Seek help
If your symptoms are so bad that you can't live a normal life, see your GP for medical help