Winter this year promises to be a little more difficult than usual. Along with the cold and wet weather we’re used to at this time of year, we’re living under increased Covid restrictions once again. In the spring and summer it was easier to meet friends and family outside, but with the temperature dropping, rain overhead and mud underfoot that’s less practical and less pleasant. Winter can lead to low mood or even full blown depression – SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a form of clinical depression brought on by various factors in the winter. If you suffer, you might find this year even more challenging than previous ones.
Today we’re taking a look at some of the things you can do with the long, cold winter lights to help boost your mood and keep you going until the promise of spring.
When the nights get longer and darker, it’s a great time to pick up a craft hobby. Whether it’s one you’ve never tried before or the resuscitation of a favourite pastime, getting involved in crafting can help to pass the time, improve the mood and even generate some unique, personal Christmas gifts for friends and family.
Whether it’s a rainbow weaving loom, knitting needles or the paper, glue and scissors of scrapbooking, practicing a craft has many benefits. As well as the satisfaction that comes with working with your hands and mastering a new skill, the focus, attention and repetition that go into crafting can help to put you into a mindful state, producing an effect similar to meditation. This can help you feel calmer and build emotional resilience – though, if you’re suffering very low mood, it’s no substitute for help from a doctor or therapist.
The two big problems facing us this winter are time and isolation: without focus, those winter nights can feel very long, and with many of our usual indoor social activities closed or restricted, they can feel very lonely too.
The solution might be to start a book club with your friends! Reading can make the time vanish, and a book club to discuss your opinions on a set text gives you a starter for conversation that’s not about the pandemic!
Invest in a SAD Lamp
Whatever you’re doing this winter, it could be worth investing in a SAD lamp. These gadgets reproduce the qualities of natural sunlight in a way that standard bulbs and strip lighting don’t. If you illuminate your crafting or reading with a SAD lamp, then you give your brain an extra dose of daylight when the nights are at their longest, and this can help to lift some of the fatigue that troubles so many people in the darkest part of the winter.