Winter brings with it a lot to enjoy; Bonfire Night, Diwali, Hannukah, Christmas and New Year to name a few. Unfortunately, it also brings dark nights, frosty mornings and the occasional bout of S.A.D syndrome.
S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a condition that is taking hold of more and more people. Low mood levels, anxiety and depression are linked to reduced daylight and vitamin D but this can be beaten.
At Rejuva HQ we want to give you some practical tips and tricks to get through the winter months with nothing but a smile on your face. Packed full of bite-size actions, this article, will see you turn from caterpillar to butterfly, more beautiful, healthy and happy than ever come March.
Scientific studies are proving that there is a direct link to our psychological wellbeing and our gut bacteria. Given almost every chemical that controls the brain is found in the stomach; we should not be surprised by this. Several double-blind studies have proven that a daily intake of probiotics can alleviate depression or reduce reactivity to sadness. Our gut or ‘second brain’, is also responsible for producing 80-90% of our serotonin.
Dr David Perlmutter author of “Brain Maker – The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain,” speaks extensively about the powerful connection between the trillions of bacteria in our gut and the density of our brain. can help ourselves get through the winter blues by choosing to eat the correct foods. Aside from probiotics, consuming foods rich in magnesium and potassium will also help. Both of these minerals have been shown to have a positive effect on mood as well as a whole host of other benefits.
Therefore, it would seem that we can help ourselves get through the winter blues by choosing to eat the correct foods. Aside from probiotics, consuming foods rich in magnesium and potassium will also help. Both of these minerals have been shown to have a positive effect on mood as well as a whole host of physical benefits.
Avoiding heavy carb-laden foods is a good idea. Not only do they contribute to ‘grain brain’ they are also notorious for hitting us with a deep afternoon slump. Creating an environment where we are extraordinarily tired at 3 pm, and it is already starting to get dark outside is a recipe for disaster. Instead, choose interesting and bright foods to mix into warm salads, soups and to eat as fresh snacks. Your body, energy levels and probably your co-workers will thank you for it.
There is a power to meditation that most of us have not realised yet. When we meditate, we activate the pre-frontal cortex of the brain so rather than just relax the mind and body; studies have shown meditation also contributes to happiness.
An excellent way to begin practising meditation is through the use of handy apps. Insight Timer is the favourite at Rejuva HQ. With over 3,000 guided meditations to choose from, some specifically designed to boost happiness and minimise depression; it is a great place to start. Our favourite is the 10-minute morning meditation with Jonathan Lehmann. Making time to do this when you wake up will give you a head start for the day. What does this mean? You will be in a better mood and more productive.
Alternatively, finding time to meditate before sleep is an excellent way of supercharging the quality of your sleep. Evening meditation is particularly useful when early morning alarms mix poorly with dark mornings.
It is easy to sit back on the sofa and watch an endless amount of TV in the winter. Try to embrace the time spent inside this winter by learning a new skill or starting a new hobby instead. For example, why not use the app ‘Babble’ to start learning the language of a country you might want to visit on holiday? You could grab a friend and start a gym class together or learn a new form of dance instead of exercising in the rain. For the foodies out there, why not swap indulgent meals out for the opportunity to learn how to cook new recipes. Each of these new hobbies can be started in the comfort of your homes, online or with an app.
Learning a new skill give you something to distract you from the cold, and something you can build, improve and use to benefit your life every year after. You can increase the benefits by taking on one of these activities with friends or family you haven’t seen in a long time. Social media can trick us into thinking that we are keeping in touch, but nothing beats some real, tangible, face-to-face time with the special people in our life.
Alternatively, try starting a personal project instead. Perhaps there is an epic trip you have always wanted to take that you can research and create a mood board. Scrapbooking, creating photo albums, or catching up on reading is another great way to pass solo chilly evenings.
One of the best things about the winter months is the last minute deals we can find for travel. Whether it is going abroad or staying in the UK there are plenty of beautiful places to explore. Planning trips will give you something to look forward to which in turn sends the week flying past us at record speeds. Before you know it, Spring will be here and the mornings will be bright once again.
Have a browse through Instagram to find some incredible locations first and then plot how you will get there and what you will do. Visualise the experience and focus on the happiness and joy travelling brings. And while you’re on Instagram- follow us too!
Luckily for us, there are real ways to brighten up our lives in the winter including specially designed lights for our bedrooms. They will get gradually brighter to allow you to wake up in the most natural way possible, even if it is still pitch black outside. Some advanced models will sync to your phone. This means you can pre-plan a guided meditation.
Accessorise heavily with layers of clothing that are easy to take off and put back on when travelling around London. Being cold makes us miserable and so does excessive heat of the tubes. Layering will allow you to keep warm when it is cold and cool down when you are in congested places. Make your accessories bright and colourful where possible, so that black and grey does not constantly surround you.
While it is tempting to neglect yourself in the winter months because “no-one is going to see you,” try hard not to. Keep your beauty regime intact and remember that a summer body is made in the winter, not in the summer! Exchange summer cocktails with amazing detox smoothies. This will keep your immune system high, your gut healthy and your outlook positive. Finally, remember that it is impossible to be sad if you force yourself to smile. Try it, even when you don’t want to. Chances are it will make someone else smile too.
Shop for winter busting detox products here.