According to NHS data it is thought that the winter blues affects around 2 million people in the UK and more than 12 million people across northern Europe. However, winter shouldn’t be all doom and gloom, so try VITL’s, Head of Nutrition, Libby Limon’s top 10 tips to stay happy this winter.
1. Get moving. Research has shown that a daily one-hour walk in the middle of the day could be as helpful as light treatment for coping with the winter blues, plus it will help you stay fit and healthy.
2. Eat the right fats. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to improve mood health as they are important for the effective and efficient use of the brains messengers, neurotransmitters. Omega 3s are predominately found in oily fish, but it is hard to get enough via the diet. Most people would benefit from a supplement such as the high quality krill oil found in VITL packs.
3. Stay toasty warm. Something as simple as being cold can affect your mood for the worse. It’s also been shown that staying warm can reduce the winter blues by half. Keep warm with hot drinks and hot nourishing food such soups and stews. Wear warm clothes and shoes, and aim to keep your home between 18C and 21C (or 64F and 70F degrees).
4. Live on the sunnier side of life. Get outside in natural daylight as much as possible, especially at midday and on brighter days. Inside your home or at work, choose pale colours that reflect light from outside, and sit near windows whenever you can.
5. Eat healthily. A healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy and stop you putting on weight over winter. Reduce your cravings for carbohydrates by balancing out meals with protein and healthy fats. Aim to eat 7-10 portions of fruit and vegetables per day for healthy diet.
6. Eat dark quality chocolate. A natural amino acid called tryptophan, contained in some foods, including chocolate, can help as it is involved in the manufacture of the feel-good hormone serotonin. The body produces tryptophan itself when exposed to sunshine, so in winter months levels can fall. So topping up your levels via food can help, this might even be the reason we tend to crave chocolate more in the winter.
7. Stay well. Winter coughs, colds and flu can really drag you down not just physically but emotionally too. It is important to support your immune system essential nutrients such as vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D. A quality multi-vitamin such as VITL’s can really help to keep you in optimal health via the winter months.
8. Don’t hide away, stay social. It’s been shown that socializing is good for your mental health and helps ward off the winter blues. Make an effort to keep in touch with people you care about and accept any invitations you get to social events, even if you only go for a little while.
9. Turn on the tunes. Whether in the car, commuting, at work or relaxing at home. Music always seems to show that it has beneficial effect on our wellbeing and function. In a 2013 study, researchers showed that listening to upbeat or cheery music significantly improved participant’s mood in both the short and long term.
10. Plan a holiday. If you spend the winter longing for sunnier days at the beach? Try to fit in a winter break to sunnier climes. Even if you can’t fit the break in until summer time research shows that the simple act of planning a vacation causes a significant increase in overall happiness.
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