Many of us find this time of year challenging. Research shows that 1 in 3 people in the UK suffer from SAD and the short days and gloomy weather that this time of year brings can be difficult. Add in Lockdown 3.0 and there’s a sense that our collective camaraderie and resilience is waning. It’s understandable that we might feel a sense of despondency right now, but it’s important to not be hard on ourselves, many of us are feeling this way; we are certainly not alone. This month, to help us to keep our spirits high we are focusing on tips for staying positive.
1. Get moving
It can be hard to motivate ourselves to get outside and exercise in winter, but it will help to boost our mood. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins into the bloodstream producing a feeling of well-being. Dr Brendon Stubbs of King’s College London says we should think of exercise ‘like a kind of brain fertiliser’. Anything that leaves you slightly out of breath is beneficial like a brisk walk or cycling.
2. Eat mindfully
Emotional eating has a lot to answer for. When we are stressed it can be easy to reach for those foods which might make us feel better momentarily but can be detrimental to our health long-term. Eating a balanced, varied diet is important not just for our waistline but for our mental health. Up to 90% of serotonin (the happy hormone) is produced in the gut, so it’s important to incorporate plenty of pre-and pro-biotics into your diet. Read Food for a healthier mind to find out more about how food can boost your mood and brain function.
3. Limit your screen time
With many of us working from home, videos, conference calls and online quizzes are a lifeline right now, but it can be tricky to carve out time away from our screens. Ofcom recently found that in the UK, on average, adults check their phones every 12 minutes. Research has also shown that people are increasingly feeling the need to constantly check the news, which can reinforce our stress and anxiety. Why not challenge yourself to step away from your screen and try to limit your time checking the news or social media? For every hour spent in front of a screen you could take 10 minutes to do something else: go for a walk around the house, do some stretches, allow yourself the time to switch off and think-away from those notifications and alerts.
4. Learn something new
Having a new project to focus your attention on can be extremely beneficial for our mental health. Mental Health specialist Kirsty Lilley says ‘Working on a project can be a great way of adding structure and fulfilment to a potentially daunting period of time at home.’ Whether it’s rediscovering an old hobby or picking up that language you’ve been meaning to learn for years, keeping busy will provide the distraction and enjoyment that can help us through this tough period.
5. Keep a joy journal
Research has shown that daily journaling can boost your mood, self-confidence, memory, cognitive function, and even immunity. Oprah Winfrey has attributed her success to journaling saying, “keeping a journal will absolutely change your life in ways you’ve never imagined.”
6. Look after yourself
It may seem obvious, but as a society, we often put so much pressure on ourselves to get things done that we forget what it is that we need. Planning how we will look after ourselves is crucial. Be sure to get enough sleep, schedule some time out for a long bath or a walk in the countryside. If you are unable to get outside, research has shown that just 5 minutes of listening to the sounds of nature online can boost our mood.
It’s also important to schedule in time to talk to others, social contact is really important for staying well and talking about how we feel as well as sharing a joke with those we love will help us all to stay positive.
At the Pure Package, we nurture minds and bodies with healthy, delicious food. As a special gift this year customers who order a 10, 30 or 90 day package will receive our Positivity Package which contains a special Joy Journal, a Green Tea Explorer set from luxury tea purveyors JING, and Newton Wood Epsom Salts to help you find contentment and relaxation. But hurry, there is only a limited number remaining.