Keeping relaxed and happy through a long cold winter
“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn”
– Hal Borland
Refreshing routes to relax
The merriness of Christmas is gone now, only the bill remains; the winter solstice has gone but the nights are still long; the sun also rises but we keep spinning silently away from it!
Yet do not despair; there is a route to happiness and relaxation when it seems the whole world is conspiring against you!
Here we will look at easy tricks to keep the darkness at bay:
Set the alarm and wake up the same time you do in the summer. It will be dark outside; yet but you are a shining light from within!
Make the bed, have a shower to freshen up and make breakfast. Make a coffee, brew a tea or just have a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Whilst waiting for your breakfast to cook; why not step outside for a moment and breathe in fresh cool air? A boost of oxygen and the shock of the cold; will soon cause both mind and soul to be wide awake.
Try salmon, mackerel or tuna; grilled on toast. Go European and have lean steak sandwich. Or if you are a humble soul like me; just scramble up to three eggs or make a bowl of porridge. The reason being, all these foods are great sources of Vitamin D; so a great substitute for when the sun is not shining.
The best way to get Vitamin D is to be in direct sunlight. With the body making Vitamin D; when direct sunlight reacts with cholesterol in skin cells. The purpose of Vitamin D is to primarily regulate calcium and phosphorous; that makes are bones and teeth strong. Yet there are other benefits too.
Research shows that maintaining levels of Vitamin D can help fight the risks of flu to heart disease and multiple sclerosis! Another benefit of the vitamin is that it suppresses appetite; so helps you feel good that way. Vitamin D also helps fight depression by enabling us to better regulate our mood.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
There is a recognised medical condition called Seasonal Defective Disorder (SAD). With symptoms including: moodiness, irritability, lethargy and weight gain. Which is thought to be caused by the natural body clock becoming confused by thee short days. If you are struggling; don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. Find out more on the NHS website here:
Bright Light Therapy
A novel invention to try is a Lightbox or SAD lamp.
They work on the idea that by imitating sunlight; you will suppress melatonin and not be so sleepy and sad!
They have a bulb that can reach 10,000 lux; and have the full spectrum of light. Sit in front of a light box for 15 to 30 minutes every morning; with your eyes open but not staring directly at the light. Most people prefer to read in front of them.
In the Arctic Circle, the sunsets in winter for almost a month. In Scandinavian countries such as Norway; the government has developed a program to try and get every citizen to attend a gymnasium in these dark days to help stave off the effects of the dark.
It is a sad fact that the long dark nights cause a higher rate of suicide. Norway has realized and tackled this problem head on. They have subsidised gymnasiums for all citizens along with other forms of help. This is because research shows that exercise causes the human body to release serotonin; which normally comes from the sun. Along with endorphins that make you feel well and block pain and dopamine that causes you to feel more awake and elated.
Make use of the long dark evenings
It is cold and dark outside so stay warm and bright inside. Do not get cabin fever; get to know your family again! Put down the phone and turn off the TV and talk!
Read a book; write a book; start a website and a blog; plan your routes to relax for when the sun comes you will be ready!
If you are still struggling after trying all these ideas and your stiff upper lip is starting to quiver; then escape!
The birds fly south; so why not you? Do not go on holiday in the English summer; save your pennies for a cold rainy day!