Ideas to help you relax and de-stress during the cold season
30 June 2016, 14:26
Many of us have experienced the ‘winter blues’ – something that may be tied to the colder, wetter weather and lack of sunshine. It could also be due to the fact that winter falls in the middle of the year and that you’re in need of another holiday.
No matter the cause, you don’t need to feel down. Try these simple tips for a happier winter.
Three simple lifestyle changes to beat the winter blues:
1. Get out of the house
It might seem counterintuitive to head outside into the very weather that is affecting your mood, but carrying on as usual and even spending time outside (dressed appropriately) can take your mind off things.
Go to a movie if it’s raining; take the dog for a walk when it clears up; meet up with friends; and make the most of the cooler weather by going for a hike.
2. Spend quality time with family
Spend time with good friends or family, speak to them about how you are feeling and confide in them whenever you feel yourself slipping into a bad space.
3. Consider taking a multivitamin
If your diet is not balanced with nutritious foods, consider taking a supplement to ensure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need.
Research published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry shows that supplementation may not only help boost mood, but also overall mental health and in some cases, may help alleviate depression.
This research determined that common nutritional deficiencies seen in patients with mental disorders are omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
5 new ways to relax and unwind
If you’re feeling particularly stressed and lifestyle changes aren’t really making a difference, it may be worth trying new ways to unwind. Here are some ideas:
1. Try an adult colouring book
Many of us associate colouring in with our childhood years. However, many adults find that colouring boosts their creativity, quietens a busy mind and boosts happiness.
2. Laugh out loud
There is a reason why people say that laughter is the best medicine. Try booking tickets to a comedy show with friends.
3. Read a book
In today’s digital world, you may find that you don’t read books as often as you used to, but taking a break from the internet and your mobile phone, and curling up in a comfy chair with a good book can be very relaxing.
4. Take note of the good things in life
We often allow a single occurrence to ruin our entire day. Instead of focusing on the reasons why you had a bad day, write down a short list of good things that happened. Whether you were given a nice compliment, had a better day in the traffic or had a great meal, reflecting on even the smallest positive moments in your day can completely change your mood.
5. Try essential oils
Consider using calming essential oils to help you to relax. Try adding a few drops to your bath, pillow, wrists or an oil burner. Not sure which oils to use? Follow this quick guide:
• To feel calmer, try mandarin or neroli.
• For better sleep, jasmine or ylang ylang might help.
• To reduce anxiety, lavender could be just the thing.
David Rosenstein, Clinical Psychologist; MA Clin. Psych (Wits) PhD (Psychiatry, SUN); www.rosensteintherapy.com
Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses; T. S. Sathyanarayana Rao, M. R. Asha, B. N. Ramesh, and K. S. Jagannatha Rao; Indian J Psychiatry. 2008 Apr-Jun; 50(2): 77–82. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738337/
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