With Christmas and New Year over and everyone back to work it’s not surprising that so many people suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Well, we don’t think that you should have to battle with the winter blues. So we’ve come up with some great ways to enjoy the season and not just get through it!
Keeping warm is really important if you’re aiming to stay your cheery self in the winter months. By keeping your toes toasty you’ll keep yourself happier. A stable body temperature can keep you healthy and happy on the gloomiest of days.
How to keep cosy in winter
First, insulate your home. This will keep out drafts and save you money on your energy bill. Believe it or not, it can also be enjoyable too. If you’re a dab hand with a sewing machine then why not give making your own draft excluders a go? Giving your curtains a thermal lining can also save you a bundle, and simply sticking some kitchen foil (shiny side facing outwards) behind your radiators reflects the heat in your rooms.
You may be entitled to anenergy savings grantif you receive benefits like Universal Credit. This is a grant to be spent on things like loft insulation, draught-proofing and cavity wall insulation. They’ll usually send someone round within 21 days of your application being approved. It’ll all be installed in a few hours, so you can start saving straight away. Find out more and apply online at Affordable Warmth.
Insulating yourself is also a great idea – and we’re not talking about an extra helping of pudding. Dig out your thermal undies and your old Ugg boots. Try out some new styles with clothes you haven’t seen for a few winters. Fashions are always coming and going and chances are there’s something in the back of your wardrobe that’s fit for today’s catwalks.
The best idea is to go for lots of thin layers rather than one thick one, as this provides better insulation. If you’re totally disgusted with last year’s hat, scarf and gloves however, there are plenty of high-street stores with affordable prices.
2. get some easy Exercise to banish the winter blues
In winter, the word ‘exercise’ might send shivers down the spine. This doesn’t have to be the case, though. You just need to think outside the box to get your blood pumping. Even eight minutes of exercise, three to four times a week, can boost your happiness levels and ward off feelings of anger, tension and sadness.
How to exercise in short bursts
A 30-minute workout, three times a week, has been proven to be just as effective as anti-depressants. Look online (especially on YouTube) for HIIT workouts to get you started.
Check out dance classes in your local area. Even ballroom dancing can get the heart racing!
Do your exercise for 20 minutes, first thing in the morning – that way you won’t have to think about it for the rest of the day.
Get yourself a dance mat. This is basically a mat that you plug into the games console, which knows if you take a step forward, back, left or right. Different songs on the games have set dance moves and you’ve got to dance to these steps in time.
Exercise without realising it
Rummage around for some old albums and have a little dance and a sing to your favourite old school tunes. Even if you’re not a particularly great dancer, you’ll probably give yourself a giggle. Once you’ve perfected your act, why not host a karaoke night?
Replace your computer chair with one of those giant exercise balls. They’re surprisingly comfy to sit on, they’ll do wonders for your back and the extra movement you’ll be doing will make you exercise without realising it.
Re-decorate your house. This doesn’t necessarily mean stripping wallpaper or buying new furniture. Simply moving your existing furniture around can completely change the look of your home. Grab yourself a feng shui book and get hauling.
Challenge your kids to a Twister championship. You’ll have to bend all kinds of ways, and this game can be hilarious once it gets going.
3. hunker down and Host a movie night
Completed Netflix? Here are a few other ways you can watch films for free whilst you’re hunkering down over winter…
Use your local library. They usually have a bunch of DVDs, often of films you might not have heard of
Swap with friends and family. Some will still have DVDs and you could borrow one of theirs. Swap with yours if you have some too
Go onto YouTube and see which whole films you can see. They have quite a few old ones that can be fun
Use BBC iPlayer, ITV player, All 4 and other terrestrial TV websites to see what films they have for free there
4. Start a new hobby
Ever thought about flamenco or salsa dancing? Thought not – but it’s a great way to keep fit, it’ll give you something to do in the evenings, and it’ll bring a bit of sparkle to winter!
Not into dancing? Here are a few other hobbies you could try…
Why not set yourself the challenge of learning a new language? If you’re feeling brave, give Mandarin Chinese a shot. Download the Duolingo app to get going
Now is the ideal time of year to get your skates (or skis) on. There are ice rinks and dry ski slopes all over the place. It’s a brilliant way to keep the kids entertained for a few hours, or bring your partner along and get a bit cosy as you mess around in the (fake) snow or on the ice.
If you can get your hands on a sewing machine, then why not start making things for your family and friends? You could even make some cash if you’re good enough. For second hand sewing machines look for markets, where you might be able to grab an old Singer machine for under £40.
5. Themed dinner parties
Why not try your hand at entertaining guests by hosting a themed dinner party night? This could be any theme that you like, and the preparations could be a whole lot of fun. Here are a few examples of themes, foods and activities you could use:
Meal ideas: Fish ‘n’ chips are the obvious choice. You could also have toad in the hole, Lancashire hotpot, rice pudding, bread and butter pudding, traditional ale or sherry.
Entertainment: Traditional English games like croquet. You can pick up a mini set for your living room from Amazon. Or maybe even a good old game of Monopoly.
Meal ideas: Guacamole, salsa, tortilla chips, burritos, chilli con carne, enchiladas and of course, a good old bottle of Tequila to wash it all down.
Entertainment: Prepare a small bowl of dried chillies for each guest – the first one to eat them all wins. Make sure you have a jug of milk to hand! Another nice idea is to get yourself a piñata.
Meal ideas: It’s best to plan a meal that can be prepared in advance so you don’t miss out on the action. Make sure it’s at least three courses to ensure you’ve got time to do all the detecting.
Entertainment: The easiest way to do it is to grab yourself a pre-themed murder mystery game online.
Don’t panic, we’re not telling you to live on a salad diet. Happy eating means eating foods which are known to lift your mood.
What food should I eat?
Some foods contain higher levels of serotonin, aka ‘the happy hormone’. They include whole-grain bread, fish, chicken, turkey, bananas, avocados, cereals, nuts and – luckily – chocolate!
In fact, chocolate has one of the highest levels of serotonin, but it will only give you a short boost (one or two hours). The best way to maintain your happy hormone levels is to eat a balanced diet and make sure you get enough carbs (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc), as these provide a steady release of energy.
Cooking from scratch
Cooking can also be an enjoyable way to pass the time. Not only does making your own bread require a little exercise for the kneading, but making puddings is something you can get the children involved in.
Walk to the market to buy the ingredients if you can – it’s cheaper and you get exercise at the same time. Or, if you haven’t got the time – or a local market – you could shop online and save time.
6. banish the winter blues by Getting out
Make it worth it
A night out can be expensive. If you’re looking to go out to a posh restaurant or a trendy wine bar to avoid the winter blues, you’ve got to expect to pay out. And if you’re planning on splashing some cash, it’s worth going somewhere recommended so that you at least get value for money. Make sure wherever you choose is cosy, and you can get a warming cocktail or whiskey as a nightcap!
7. Make staying in fun
Camp out in the living room
Need to add some novelty to the kids’ winter weekend? If you’d rather not brave the cold, get hold of an electric heater, some marshmallows and a sounds of nature CD and set up camp in your living room. Tell ghost stories to your kids or snuggle up with your partner to keep warm.
Let us know any of your handy hints on how to survive the winter blues by commenting below!