Wellness in Winter
Updated: Jan 3
With the long barmy summer evenings a distant memory, the twinkling lights and celebrations of the festive season fading away the dark mornings, dark nights and grey days of the winter months in the UK can literally leave people feeling "under the weather"
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is more likely to affect people in the winter months and can be known as "Winter Depression"
For more information on SAD click here
Having lived in many sunny climates and having spent many a winter overseas I used to feel mentally and emotionally lower in the winter months and allow myself to be affected by the grey days that often greeted me when I landed back in the UK. I would complain about it and only see the negatives, going to work in the dark, coming home in the dark, it felt depressing, long and sad.
Since taking a keen interest in psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and self development I have been able to change the way I look at the winter months, hypnotherapy uses tools to allow clients to "re frame" traumatic memories or events to enable them to be able to see them differently and move forward with a different outlook. You can't change the past but you can change the way you think about it.
”What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness” - John Steinbeck
I believe you can re frame the way you see the long nights and the grey days. I am now able to find joy, solace and restoration of body and mind over the winter months which I am so grateful for. I have realised that it is beneficial to body and mind to do a little less in the winter, plan a little less, take a little more time to enjoy the simple things, cooking a lovely meal, getting lost in a great book, foraging for sloe berries after the first frost to make sloe gin, reconnecting with myself and others.
Just 120 minutes a week was the time spent in nature found to give a significant boost to health and wellbeing according to a new large scale study by the University of Exeter. That is just under 20 minutes per day! Wrap up warm, grab the dog, put on a podcast or audio book or simply listen to the sounds around you and feel the benefits of the fresh, crisp air.
The mornings may be dark, the nights may be dark, but there is daylight out there, it is just a case of finding the time to go out and access it whenever the opportunity arises.
While many of us are working from home we have more opportunities than ever before to shift our working schedules and find some work/life balance.
Throughout the winter months the trees lose their leaves and retreat into themselves, our gardens die back and re nourish the soil, the grass and the weeds stop growing and everything takes a break. Perhaps we were designed to do the same?
We are now able to continue working day and night whatever the time of year, or time of day, the world is constantly connected and awake 24/7. In times gone by this would not have been possible, lack of daylight and electricity, no shops, or banks open, no emails to send or reply to and people would have literally "made hay while the sun shines" and taken a significant break throughout the longer, darker days.
I now love to utilise the winter months to crawl into bed earlier with a great book, cook hearty nutritious meals and soups, take long walks on the crisp bright sunny days, listen to the rain on the roof, marvel at the frosty mornings and the incredibly beautifully bright star covered night skies. Catch up on some documentaries or take time to call friends.
As mother nature takes a break ready to emerge in the Spring so do I and it is truly a joy.
The winter months can allow us to plan our year ahead, to be still, reflective, silent, reconnect and to learn and nurture patience. If you can't go outside, go inside.
Try it, you just might learn to love it and if that still doesn't help rest assured that as we have now passed the winter solstace the days will start to become lighter for longer by an average of 2 minutes and 7 seconds every day.