Beat the winter blues

Cobden Bridge West Coast New Zealand

The well-known barber that sweeps over Greymouth in the winter months

Beat the winter blues
We’ve made it past the shortest day of the year, but winter is still upon us. Dark mornings, grey skies, rain and cold can get everyone down, but there are a few sure-fire ways to stay warm and healthy this winter.

Blow out the cobwebs
Maybe you just want to curl up in front of Netflix, but you’ll feel better about putting your feet up if you’ve been out in the fresh air first. As long as it’s not pouring rain, rug up warm and head outdoors. Take a 30-minute walk, kick a ball around in the back yard, or try a local walking track. Fresh air and exercise gets the endorphins up and helps you keep strong.

The same goes for your home – make the most of those sunny-but-cold days to open up your house and let the breeze through. Opening doors and windows regularly helps keep the damp out of your home – even a few minutes a day is good for you.

Eat fresh
We all know that getting our five-plus fruit and veg a day helps keep us healthy – and it’s even more important in winter to keep up your intake of fresh food and vitamins from vegetables. Comfort food is good for a treat, but you’ll feel better if you keep it fresh. Soup is a great winter-warmer and healthy eating websites have loads of ideas for fresh winter meals, so get some online inspiration! 

Keep the bugs at bay
The ‘flu vaccination is a must for winter and it’s free for some people, so think about getting it – it’s not too late! Washing hands and taking care with coughs and sneezing will help stop the spread of winter bugs.

Let the sun shine in
Everyone knows that sluggish feeling of being stuck inside on cold, wet days. But did you know there is science behind the benefits of getting out in the sun? Exposure to sunlight is said to release the hormone serotonin in you body, which can boost your mood and help you feel more focused. Without it, we can get the “winter blues”, so try to take in some rays every day.

Sunlight is also a great, free way to keep your house warm. Make sure you open your curtains every morning to capture as much sun during the day as possibly, then close them early to help keep in the heat.

Keep in touch
Don’t hibernate this winter – it might take a little more effort when the days are cold and the nights are dark, but getting out and about with family and friends is a great way to boost your mood. Socialising is known to help strengthen your immune system, so get a group together and get out there.

Have a healthy home
Keeping your home warm and dry will help keep you healthy too. Check your ceiling insulation to keep in the heat and reduce dampness by having a window open when you’re in the bathroom, drying clothes or emptying the dishwasher – steam can cause mildew and mould which can lead to respiratory illness.

It can be expensive to heat your home, so look in to the most cost-effective heating options. Blankets and throws can also be a great idea for snuggling into while watching television, and you might not need the heater on so long.

There’s plenty you can do to boost your mood and improve your health over winter. Of course, there will always be days when you just want to mooch on the couch – and that’s ok too!