• By Amanda Blackburn.

Winter Blues!

Well, it's well and truly winter, and I am not liking it! I know that when the sun is out the sky looks so blue and all the glistening frost makes things look very pretty, but I don't like the cold, not one bit! I have been really ill for the last week and a half with my yearly cold and flu that I always get. It's really wiped me out this year, all I want to do is sleep and stay in the warm, its really getting me down. I have had to give my Yoga and Zumba classes a miss due to feeling so ill with a bad chest and sinus pressure in my head. I hate missing my classes, I rely on my Zumba and Yoga for my mental therapy, lack of exercise makes me feel depressed.

I have been taking my sunshine vitamin D every day to help combat depression through the winter as there is less sunlight during the winter. Vitamin D is usually produced in your skin in response to sunlight, it can affect as many as 2,000 genes in the body. Vitamin D is also meant to help with the regulation of calcium and phosphorus absorption, maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, and is suggested to supply a protective effect against multiple diseases and conditions such as cancer, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. However, even the Vitamin D isn't helping me like it usually does! I'm sure I am not alone in suffering the winter blues, I imagine all of you reading this have also been affected by the cold winter with the dark nights. If you are lucky enough to be living somewhere sunny, then lucky you,I am very jealous!

Winter depression or winter blues is known as Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and is a mood disorder that people with normal mental health suffer and experience depressive symptoms during the winter. Winter depression is not just a myth there is scientific evidence to support the idea that the winter season can affect our moods. Most scientists believe that the problem is related to the way the body responds to daylight. Scientific evidence shows that when light enters the eye it causes changes in our hormone levels in our bodies. In our bodies, light functions to stop the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, making us wake up. So during the winter months when we are affected by shorter daylight hours our bodies produce higher melatonin, causing lethargy and symptoms of depression. So what can I do to cheer myself up, other than drinking a few glasses of wine that would probably just make me cry with the way I'm feeling right now. How can I get more light into my life during the winter months? Here are some ideas that I hope will help me fight the winter blues!

  • Getting outside as often as I can, especially on bright days.

  • Sitting by a window.

  • Holiday in the sun (I will ask Santa!) but what about when I come home, I'm sure I would feel 10 times worse, I suffer in the summer when I get back from a holiday, so imagine what it would feel like in the winter! I wouldn't say no to a holiday, though!

  • SAD lamp ( a light box that produces a very bright light).

  • A nice walk outside.

  • Make my home environment as light and airy as possible.

  • Regular exercise.

  • Eating my five a day.

  • Healthy balanced diet.

  • Relaxing yoga stretches daily.

  • Avoiding people who stress me out.

  • Talking to my friends and family about how I am feeling.

Does anybody else feel low in the winter?

What do you do to help yourself?

Feel free to share your winter blues with me and comment below, I would love to know I'm not alone!

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