The days are short and there are less hours of sunlight. Are you struggling to maintain a happy, healthy mindset?
If so, you may just be experiencing the Winter Blues.
The good news is there are ways to perk ourselves during the cold Winter. Here’s a few suggestions:
1. Maintain a healthy diet
Do you crave slow-cooked stews, roasts and apple crumble along with all the trimmings this time of year? Quite often in the cold, we think we ‘deserve’ these comfort foods and we also tend to snack more.
However, no season should mean unhealthy eating habits.
Soups are a great option – be creative and try a new recipe – especially ones that include bone or vegetable broth with plenty of added veggies.
Remember to include dark leafy greens, such as spinach and kale in your diet. Oranges are also at their juiciest in the wintertime. Be adventurous, and try one of the many varieties of winter squash, celeriac, cabbage, parsnips or add some brussels sprouts to the menu – cooked the right way – they are delicious – who knows, the family may even devour them!
It’s easy to say “it’s too cold” to exercise outdoors during the winter. And, we know this can be particularly challenging if you have a job that means there’s not much time in the morning and you get home in the dark. But, it’s actually quite invigorating to go for an early morning walk; even if it’s just a brisk walk around the block to clear the mind and get some fresh air. Have you witnessed one of Geelong’s amazing Winter sunrises?
The weekends are a great time to head outdoors and catch some some Vitamin D. Much of the population is Vitamin D deficient. The Cancer Council* advises:
“In late autumn and winter in some southern parts of Australia, when the UV Index falls below 3, spend time outdoors in the middle of the day with some skin uncovered. Being physically active (e.g. gardening or going for a brisk walk) also helps boost vitamin D levels.”
Involving the whole family in an outdoor activity could be fun too. Perhaps a bike ride along one of Geelong’s many bike paths or a bushwalk – at least there are no snakes out this time of year!
3. Manage screen time
Snuggling up on the couch watching TV is the easy option. How often do we find ourselves watching TV and scrolling through social media feeds at the same time? Whilst some of this “chill out” time is needed, don’t overdo it.
And remember, don’t compare yourself to others on social media – quite often people really are only posting the “good parts” of their life.
4. Talk to your friends and family
Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.
Is now a good time to pick up the phone and dial a friend?
5. Get out and about
There’s lots happening in Geelong, Bellarine and the Surf Coast during Winter including Festivals, Tastes of Central Geelong and Markets.
How about a visit to the Geelong Art Gallery or a game of mini-golf?
You could also head to the Bellarine Peninsula to a nice winery, or go see a band or listen to some live music.
When was the last time you visited the Werribee Open Range Zoo?
Make a fun list with the family and tick them off one by one. Visit the Geelong & The Bellarine website to see what’s on.
Seasonal affective disorder
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is more than the Winter blues. It is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year show depressive symptoms at the same time each year, usually during winter.
Symptoms include extreme fatigue, sleeping more than usual, difficulty in concentrating, low motivation, general lethargy and the tendency to over-eat.
You can generally shake off the normal Winter Blues with some of our suggestions. But if you feel you can’t shake off your blues, please make an appointment to see your Park Street Geelong GP. We are here to help.
Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussion about health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with a GP. Links to other (“third party”) websites are provided solely as a convenience and not as a guarantee or recommendation by Park Street General Practice for the services, information, opinion or any other content on such third party websites or as an indication of any affiliation, sponsorship or endorsement of such third party websites.