stop the winter blues from getting you down

Winter is upon us and as the nights get colder and the days get shorter, it’s easy for the best of us to feel a little down. In cold weather we feel like eating more, drinking more and venturing out less – which unfortunately doesn’t bode well with our health and wellbeing…or the waistline.

However, there are small things that you can do to decrease those feelings of sluggishness and make the most of the cooler season.

Exercise: Though it can be a struggle to convince yourself to simply get out of bed in the morning, let alone exercise, it’s vital to maintain an active lifestyle even when it looks miserable outside. Along with helping your overall health and fitness, exercise can help your mind by releasing those ‘feel good’ endorphins, decreasing stress levels and anxiety. Find a friend who will motivate you to stick to the schedule and if the weather is less than desirable, have an indoor exercise plan at the ready.

Eat smarter: What you put inside your body can have a huge effect on your overall mood and energy. During these cold nights, it’s tempting to stay in with a glass of wine (and maybe one more helping of dessert), however the combination of eating more and spending less time outside and active over winter can cause you to feel lethargic and even depressed. Try to maintain a balanced diet and ensure you are still drinking eight glasses of water a day (even if you don’t feel as thirsty as you do over summer).

Embrace the cold: While many of us shy away from the outdoors during these chilly months, sometimes getting out and about can be the best medicine for us. A lack of sunlight over winter can be a trigger of mild depression, so make the effort to get outside during those brief spells when the sun makes an appearance. Rug up for a brisk walk outside in your lunch break or for the adventurous, spend a weekend away skiing or snowboarding.

Give back: A great thing to do at any time of the year is to volunteer. It has the dual effect of allowing you to make a difference by helping others, and can lead to a greater sense of self-worth during a time when you may be feeling a little down. Discover your niche (whether it be delivering food to the homeless, working with animals or providing company to the elderly) and help yourself while helping others.

Plan a holiday: If all else fails and the winter season is getting you down, one thing that is guaranteed to boost your mood is planning a holiday. We all need something to look forward to and the next best thing to actually being on a holiday is the anticipation of one. Plan a week away (somewhere with a warmer climate preferably) or if days are limited, a simple weekend getaway can be surprisingly rejuvenating.

Make the most of your downtime: The upside of less social commitments and outdoor activities over winter is that you generally have a bit more time at home to catch up on those tasks that so often get put aside during busier months. It can be a great time to get your finances sorted, with a review of your mortgage, insurance, super and retirement planning. Nothing feels better than being confident your money is working hard for you. If you need assistance, contact your financial adviser.

Source: Capstone Financial Planning.

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