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If you've ever had unexplained feelings of sadness during the cooler months, there is a chance you may have been experiencing the winter blues. To some this may sound harmless, but did you know it is recognised as a medical condition called SAD (seasonal affective disorder)? According to Beyond Blue, it's a form of depression that fluctuates with the seasons, generally peaking during the winter months when the days are shorter and weather is colder.

SAD symptoms include fatigue, increased appetite, weight gain and mood changes. If you are feeling the SADs this winter, there are a few ways you can work on your wellbeing.

If you, or someone you know needs crisis support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 immediately.

Exercise regularly

Exercise has a positive impact on our mood and our general wellbeing, along with the increased benefits on our energy levels and metabolism. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day will help reduce the impact of SAD, not to mention all the other health benefits of working out. Instead of exercising out in the elements, head to the gym where you know you will feel motivated to smash your workout, and while you’re there, why not stay for a cuppa?

Eat smarter

When it gets cold, often all we want to do is sit on the couch, binge watch Netflix and snack on our favourite foods. We do recommend these as a treat yourself option, which is completely fine every once in a while, but try not to get stuck doing this daily throughout winter. In order to beat the blues, fuel your body with nutritious healthy meals that will help you to maintain your energy and sugar levels to get you through the day. Try one of our favourite winter soup recipes.

Keep warm

Keeping warm is a must in winter. You want to make sure your body is warm throughout the day and night in order to protect yourself against viruses and infections. Sleeping with socks on will help regulate your body’s core temperature. When it’s cold outside, your body pulls heat from around your body and sends it back to your core, regulating your body temperature and keeping you warm. So it's important to rug up, wear warm clothes and enjoy a hot beverage. 

Head outside

Aim to head outside for 10-15 minutes a day to ensure you are reaching your daily dose of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium which is needed to build and maintain healthy bones and keep our muscles strong. Head out at lunchtime for a short walk to get your daily amount, just be sure to always wear sun protection.

Do what you love

Making sure you take time for yourself is important all year round however, if you are experiencing the SADs we highly recommend scheduling time into your calendar. This time spent on yourself will have a number of benefits in order to get you through winter: reboot our brains, help us unwind, improve concentration, provide space for self-discovery, allow time to think, and enhance our relationships. Another way is to surround yourself with supportive friends and family. These things will all guide you to a greater wellbeing. If you are stuck for ideas take a look at these mood boosters.

If you, or someone you know needs crisis support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 immediately.