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6 ways to keep the winter blues at bay

During winter many of us may find ourselves feeling very lethargic and down. Known as the Winter Blues, these feelings are common, affecting over 2 million of us each year. Luckily, you can take some small steps to help put a spring back into your step.

1 – Supplement your diet with vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a significant role in balancing your moods, boosting your immune system and keeping your blood sugar levels right. However, we get most of our vitamin D from the sun, which can be in short supply during winter. While you should try to get as much sun as possible by spending time outdoors during the middle of the day, it’s also a good idea to take some supplements at this time of year.

2 – Spend time with your close friends and family

Nothing can lift your mood quite as much as spending time with your family and friends, especially now that the pressure to host the perfect Christmas is over. Make plans for your friends to come over or meet family for a coffee and a walk. It will lift your mood and theirs too. You can arrange something on the spur of the moment or plan it in advance. Just make sure you spend some time with the people you love at this time of year.

3 – Eat the right food to boost your mood

While it may be tempting to tuck into any remaining sweets, choosing the right food can help kick your blues into check. You can boost your vitamin D intake with plenty of fatty fish, orange juice and milk. Though not all at once. Breakfast cereal and yoghurt are also great foods for this. Ensure you include protein in every meal to help avoid sugar and carb cravings later in the day

4 – Stick to your sleep routine

As comforting as a lie-in feels, you might be better off sticking to a sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Adding relaxing activities in the evening, such as reading a book or drinking herbal tea, can help get you in the right mindset for bed. You should also avoid using phones or tablets in bed, as the blue light emitted by those devices can affect your sleep.

5 – Do something active every day

Light exercise, such as a lunchtime stroll or tidying up, can be a natural mood lifter. Yoga or light aerobics are also great activities to try. Start slowly, and build up to spending around 30-60 minutes every day doing exercise. You can split this up over the day, so you could do 10 minutes of yoga when you wake up and then take a 20-minute walk in the sun later. Try to spend even a few minutes outside every day.

6 – Give yourself things to look forward to

Having something to look forward to is another wonderful way to lift your spirits. You can make plans with friends or spend some time planning a treat for yourself. A holiday is a fantastic option. Not only do you get to look forward to getting away from it all, but you can also choose a destination with plenty of sun and give yourself a huge boost to your vitamin D while you’re away. Remember your travel insurance, so you don’t have to worry while away.

There are plenty of other ways to boost your mood this winter, but no matter which you choose, remember that a new year brings new opportunities to travel and experience new and amazing things.