Feel like you’ve been struck with a case of the winter blues? You’re not alone.
The cold and gloomy winter weather can make us stay indoors, exercise less, be unsociable and eat unhealthily.
National mental health organisation SANE Australia has provided six tips to help boost your mood this winter:
1. Get outside in the sunlight
Sunlight helps increase our levels of vitamin D. A deficiency in vitamin D can contribute to depression. During winter, Australians require about 30 minutes of sunshine to maintain optimal levels of vitamin D.
SANE Australia Help Centre Manager Suzanne Leckie explains it's important to get outdoors every day.
"Lack of sunshine can leave us feeling tired and flat," Ms Leckie said.
"I try and walk an hour every day all year round but I’m very aware of how my walk helps improve my mood in winter."
2. Move as much as you can
Exercise is a great way to beat winter blues. Try to do about 30 minutes exercise, five days a week.
"If you're not a fan of the gym or organised sports, activities such as gardening, dancing and tai chi can also get you moving," Ms Leckie said.
4. Embrace the cold weather
Instead of avoiding the cold, embrace it. Try and view winter as something to be enjoyed, not something to be endured.
"I embrace the cosiness of reading a book in front of the heater while under a snug blanket on a cold winter night," Ms Leckie said.
4. Make an effort to be social
Many of us are less social in winter. While socialising can seem tough in the winter months, it can help boost your mood.
"Simply being around people can feel good," Ms Leckie said.
5. Eat healthily
The cold weather can have us reaching for comfort foods high in sugar and fat. While you may get a short-lived mood boost from these foods, they can negatively affect your overall mood.
"Try and resist temptations and eat fresh food," Ms Leckie said.
6. Connect with others
A case of the winter blues can turn into something more serious. If you’re concerned about your mood or mental health, talk to friends, family or health professionals.
"Even those of us without a diagnosed mental health condition can struggle to keep dark thoughts at bay when the days get short and cold," Ms Leckie said.
You can call the SANE Help Centre on 1800 187 263 for information, advice and referral from mental health professionals. The SANE Online Forums also provide a safe, free and anonymous online platform offering connection and support.
If you’re in crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
To organise an interview with SANE Australia Help Centre Manager and Registered Psychologist Suzanne Leckie about looking after your mental health in winter, please contact:
Senior Media and PR Advisor
0407 367 215