Six ways to banish the winter blues

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Six ways to banish the winter blues

With winter weather in full force and the holiday season behind us, the first months of the year can feel unusually long, and especially so this year with new lockdown restrictions across the UK. 

Fortunately, there are easy things you can do to take care of yourself and help banish the winter blues.

1. Spend time outside each day

Spending time outside during winter is crucial for your overall wellbeing – even if it is cold and blustery outside. And spending just 20 minutes outside can help boost your mood1.

Instead of holing up at your desk or on the sofa all day, work on getting outside for 20 to 30 minutes each day, even if you have to wrap up and carry an umbrella. You could stroll around your neighbourhood, tend to your garden or walk to a local park.

2. Do a mental health check

The winter months can drain anyone, but they're especially difficult if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder2. To set yourself up for a healthy, happy winter, take 15 minutes each week to evaluate your mental and emotional state.

Consider your energy level, mood and daily activities. Have you been feeling irritable, depressed, or lethargic? Are you finding it difficult to work or wake up in the morning? Are you no longer enjoying the things you usually love? If so, you could be dealing with more than just the winter blues.

If that's the case, you're not alone, and it's critical to talk to a health professional about your options.

3. Try a quintessential winter activity

Even with cold weather and less sunlight, there's still plenty to love about winter. Instead of fighting it, embrace the season by doing a quintessential winter activity such as a frosty (or snowy) morning walk.

Why not use the winter months as an opportunity to improve your baking, cooking or crafting skills? Whip up some hot chocolate to sip on as you try a new stew recipe or finally learn how to knit.

4. Give your home a makeover

If you're feeling unmotivated or uninspired at home, consider changing up your surroundings. To start, pick one or two areas of your home that cause you stress, like your chaotic wardrobe, cluttered kitchen or dreary living room.

From there, make plans to improve the space. That might involve editing and organising your wardrobe, cleaning out your fridge or even repainting your living room. Even small changes to your home — like clearing crowded surfaces, updating your curtains or blinds or changing your sofa cushions — can make a big difference to the feel and functionality of a space.

5. Plan a weekly social event

Having something to look forward to each week during winter can help you get through tough days. Plus, regular socialising with loved ones is key to feeling balanced and joyful.

Depending on your living situation and personal health needs, you could call a friend on your daily walk for a chat, plan a virtual cooking competition with family or a night of card games and cocktails with your partner. Just make sure whatever you do is fun and stress-free.

6. Book a holiday

One of the best ways to banish the winter blues is to book a holiday escape. Even though you can't take off on holiday right now, planning and preparing for your holiday could be the perfect distraction.

As part of our Fresh Air Getaways campaign, we're giving our energy customers the chance to win a luxury UK holiday every week. If you win, you could travel to your choice of one of nine incredible locations, including an oceanside retreat in Cornwall and a private island in Scotland. Would you enjoy a spa getaway at a lush hotel in the Lake District? Or a serene stay in a remote lighthouse cottage?

No matter which option you choose, you can book your holiday for whenever it suits you within the next 12 months. You need only enter once for a chance to win.

1.  International Journal of Environmental Health Research: Factors associated with changes in subjective well-being immediately after urban park visit
2. NHS: Overview - Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)