Ugh November. None of the fun of Halloween, but with all the pre-Thanksgiving and Christmas stress. And baby it’s cold outside. Really cold and really drab. November can truly be overwhelming and irritating. I don’t know about you but I always feel offended by work days that start in the dark and end in the dark. We are grumpy, frustrated, tired and stressed.
Basically in November it is hard to be a functioning human being because we are all susceptible to the winter blues.
And recently I have been fighting that overwhelming slump that comes when the winter blues get too much. However I still have a life to live, things still need to get done and to be honest I don’t want to feel this way. And I am sure you don’t either.
I have been experimenting with different ways to get over the winter blues and get my smile back on. Here are the ones I have found that work for me. I hope they also help you to get over the winter blues.
Realise you are not stupid
Seriously one of the effects of the winter blues is actually feeling stupid. Nothing is working the way it normally should. You have less energy and everything seems harder. And often when we feel like that we feel stupid because it’s not the way we normally work. And feeling stupid is a pretty destructive emotion. Now if you look at Christopher Ingram’s Google Misery Index the number show that November is one of the high points in the year where people feel down right unhappy. And that includes rises in stress, anxiety and depression.
You are not stupid. What you are experiencing is very, very normal for human beings at this time of year.
Once you can accept that and stop fighting against the side affects of winter blues you can start to be active in making yourself feel better.
Light, light and light
It’s pretty common knowledge that the primary cause of winter blues is the decrease in sunlight. Less natural light causes dips in serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. As well as alterations in melatonin, a hormone associated with both mood and sleep. No wonder we feel rubbish in these dark days.
A great way to feel better is to get as much light as possible.
Natural sunlight is obviously the best so on sunny days prioritise getting your rays as much as you do when tanning in the summer. But if it’s really dark light therapy is a great alternative. 20 minutes under a sun lamp will boost your energy. With the bonus of being easy to do. If you can’t afford your own sunlamp then see if there is a way to access it in your local area. For example my local swimming pool has sunlamps in their sauna. Hmm sun and warm combi is lovely.
Keep life simple
One of the big factors of stress in November is pre thanksgiving and christmas stress. There is a lot of planning and prep that needs to be done. Lots of things to remember and upcoming increase in social engagements. November needs to be simplified. And one of the best ways to do that is by organising your time. Prioritising you time. And by taking less on in November. A few years ago I found a genius planning tool that helps you do just that. Check out my December without stress article to find out how.
Lack of sunlight means your body makes less vitamin D. Less Vitamin D can cause fatigue, low immune system and depression. The last things you need right now. Vitamin D is relatively easy to get hold of. I find the best results happen when you start to take it in September. However, I am not a health professional so check it out with your doctor before you start to take something new. Of course sunlight does create natural Vitamin D so we are back to light once more!
Keep your engine in order
Cars can’t drive with faulty engines, or at least they can’t drive well. And neither can you. It is so important to look after your health in November. Yes I know your body is craving the wrong foods. In the worse case eat the wrong stuff with the right stuff too. So add some vegetables to your plate of fish and chips. Have you chocolate and a banana as a snack. And keep that body moving. If you don’t want to go to the gym, then play some just dance or just dance around your kitchen.
You want to hibernate. Then do that. I don’t mean every day but give yourself a hibernation day. I cannot stress enough the healing power of building pillow forts and duvet on the sofa days. Indulge that need for snuggling. You can get the whole family involved. Find the christmas lights, the blankets, the duvets and the cushions and make yourselves a cosy space to hibernate. Or pull the duvets on the sofa, watch a film with a good cup of tea in your pjs and order take out for dinner. Obviously it’s not healthy every day but one day, one evening or a weekend of this kind of down time will give your energy a boost.
Boost your immune system
Colds and flu are rife in November. And the last thing your winter blues needs is a cold to finish it off. Of course all of the benefits we have mentioned above help. But you can really boost your immune system by eating foods such as ginger and almonds. (you can find more info here You can make some great juices and smoothies to add to your breakfast. Such as this sweet green smoothie . Personally I use Echinacea drops and I am trying turmeric milk. Find your way of boosting your immune system and give yourself a fighting chance to avoid the colds circulating in the office.
One of the fun things about summer is the things we look forward to and the fun stuff we do. Give yourself mini adventures during November. And that can be as simple as going to see a play, going to visit a beauty spot in nature, building a den in the woods, visiting a local attraction or my favourite the local spa! It’s easy to forget to prioritise having fun when you are feeling overloaded. However it is a great way to get you back on your feet again. I mean it force yourself into a mini adventure and you will feel better. We are off to a mini rain forest next friday. It’s a little local project. But already I can feel that I am happier just looking forward to it.
Play Dates with Friends
November can feel very lonely as people isolate themselves at home. Yet being with friends gives us an huge energy boost. Don’t have a lot of energy then keep it simple. We are going to see friends who are majorly stressed tonight so we are taking dinner and they are providing the space and wine. The dinner will be something simple and I don’t have the bother of having to clean the house. The other benefit is we can decide when the evening is over. And they don’t have to worry about making dinner. It’s a win -win. I have also recently joined a writers club, something I find really inspiring. And Mr T hangs out online with his friends in a game where they dedicate one evening a week to playing together as a group. Find ways to have a play date and hang out using minimal energy. You will feel better for it.
Keep yourself warm
There are very few people who love to be bone cold. Feeling cold makes us feel sluggish and tired. Keeping warm is a secret way to boost your mood against the winter blues. I feel great after a sauna or a warm shower. It’s cosy to be wrapped up against the elements or to drink warm tea. In Denmark we really focus on hygge. So in the winter when chilling out candles are lit, blankets and warm socks are a necessity. Snacks go in bowls. Tea is made. Basically anything that makes you feel warm and cosy is at the heart of hygge. Try and do something extra to warm your body on a daily basis and you will feel great.
A little effort goes a long way to getting over the winter blues. Doing just one of these things will make you feel better. Do them all and you will be the sunshine that blows away everyone else’s winter blues. A great way to spread the love!
Have a cosy weekend