Photography: Kaye Ford
It’s 6:00, pitch-black outside and once again my alarm is going off, I groggily roll over and hit snooze. It’s 6:15 my second alarm is going off, I don’t even remember the first one, I roll over hit snooze and drift back to sleep. I hear my sister’s alarm from upstairs, the sound and my inability to turn it off cause a moment of annoyance before I realise that it is 6:45, I need to have left the house to get to work in 15 mins and I should have been up nearly an hour ago. I run around like a mad-woman rushing to get ready and try to look vaguely human before I run out the door.
Dark mornings and cold weather aren’t exactly a recipe for success. I’m sure we all have mornings when we’d rather stay in bed and I know that I find not seeing daylight Monday-Friday really lowers my mood and energy levels. So today I thought I’d talk about the 8 ways I’ve been trying to beat the Winter Blues.
1. Try to go to bed earlier
I am definitely guilty of staying up too late, especially in the winter when I haven’t got sunset to remind me that I should be headed to sleep. I’ve made an effort recently to switch off my “screens” at least half an hour before my planned “bedtime” in order to try to help me get to sleep faster.
2. Optimise your “dead” time
Whether it’s your daily commute or the time you spend waiting for an appointment we all have “dead” time in our week. The time when you have to be in a certain place but you aren’t really “doing” anything. For me, the clearest example of this is definitely my commute. I spend over three hours and day travelling to and from work. Most of this time is spent on a train or a bus but I’m often standing so I used to waste the time because I felt I couldn’t work on my laptop or read a book.
Recently I’ve been using Audible as an alternative. It’s far more commute friendly because I can continue listening to my audiobook through train changes and even when packed into a rammed tube. Plus I am enjoying having books back in my life because I definitely missed having the time to read. Most importantly it’s made my commute feel like less of a chore because I’m looking forward to hearing what happens next!
3. Get outside in the daylight as much as possible
Now I know this one can be hard especially if like me you have a 9-5 office job like me. I’ve been trying to go out of the office during my lunch break and go for a walk for 20-30mins. Not only is the exercise good for breaking up the hours spent at my desk but the fresh air and sun does wonders for my mood and always leave me feeling revitalised.
4. Have a good pamper session!
I don’t know about you but I sometimes “let myself go” a bit during winter. Stubbly legs (because no-one is seeing them), chipped nail varnish and three-day-old hair because I hate going outside with wet hair and I don’t have time to dry it. The thing is this laziness just leaves me feeling grotty and awful.
So I prioritised my self-care routine and gave myself a fresh manicure and pedicure earlier this week (despite the fact no-one will be seeing my toes until May at the earliest!). Normally my default would be a long hot bath but we are having our bathroom renovated at the moment so I’ve been using face masks to give myself that “pampered” feeling instead! They always leave me feeling really zen and my skin looks and feels great so that’s a plus!
5. Wrap up warm but still wear something you love
Oversized jumpers and slouchy trousers definitely have a place in my wardrobe but wearing snuggly chic outfits is definitely one of the best ways to improve my mood. I hate being cold but I always feel like I’ve got my life together when I’m wearing a put-together outfit that I love. The pieces in this post are a great example of this. The off-the-shoulder white jumper is one of the warmest items in my wardrobe but it always makes feel really chic as well. I also love my white fluffy faux fur headband from Jack Wills. I think it’s a great alternative to a slouchy beanie and still keeps my ears super warm. Finally, when it’s not too cold or wet I love wearing this simple pair of Michael Kors heels (similar), they are surprisingly comfortable and have a magical way of making me feel like a girl boss! Whatever you love wearing rock it!
6. Eat Healthily
What goes into your body is important. And while I believe in balance (and that life isn’t worth living without a bit of Dairy Milk occasionally) eating heavy stodgy foods that we often associate with the winter doesn’t always help the lethargy. Salads aren’t just for summer and making sure you are eating foods with a wide range of vitamins can not only boost your mood but also give you more energy.
7. Give yourself something to look forward to!
I booked a holiday last week. Well, actually I booked two. A trip with my uni friends to sunny Spain in July, and a trip to New York with Tom at the end of March. I have my next set of exams in the middle of March and the combination of work and revision is leaving me spread a little thin. I wanted to have something exciting on the horizon that would motivate me to work hard and pass those exams so I enjoy a trip of a lifetime. My step-sister was actually born in the Big Apple and it’s a city I’ve heard a lot about so I’m looking forward to exploring it for myself. If booking a holiday is a bit extreme for you why not make plans to see friends or go for a nice meal! Having enjoyable plans on the horizon always helps make the daily grind a little easier.
8. Get Active
It’s tough to motivate yourself to go on a run or a cycle ride when it is SO COLD AND WINDY. And it’s January so fitness classes and gyms across the country are packed with eager people trying to keep to their New Year’s Resolutions but even if it’s only a 20-minute walk find a way to incorporate some physical activity into your day is scientifically proven to raise your mood #endorphins!
Finally on a more serious note SAD a.k.a Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real medical issue that can affect people at this time of year so if you have been suffering from a consistently low mood don’t be afraid to ask your GP for advice.
If you got this far why not leave me a comment to let me know your favourite way to perk yourself up in the winter!