How to: conquer the winter blues

It’s cold and miserable outside. It’s dark by the time you get home. You ate a whole herd of Lindt chocolate reindeers over the Christmas break. I feel your pain, but I also have five ways to help you get through the chilly winter and stay happy and healthy till spring.

How to: conquer the winter blues

1. Train indoors for out.
Whatever outdoor activity you’re craving, if you simply can’t do it in the winter, give the colder months a whole new purpose by seeing them as the perfect opportunity to train hard and get fit for a summer of being at your best. Too cold to surf? Get swimming in your local pool to strengthen your arms ready for popping up. Months to go till your ski holiday? Yoga will make you flexible and supple, so you can tackle long hours on the slopes. I also love to hit the bouldering wall a few times a week. It’s a lifesaver when the weather is disgusting, as you still get a great workout and a friendly open space full of outdoors fans, but your fingers won’t get frostbite.

2. Get some greens in.
It may sound like a small change to make, but adding some lovely chlorophylly plants to your living space can hugely lift your mood. Having something to look after is one of life’s simple pleasures, and it doesn’t matter if you haven’t got a garden or much room to spare – when I lived in a tiny attic flat and I had a windowsill full of herbs who thought I was their mum. Invest in a wooden window box (make sure you pick one with holes in the bottom for drainage) and a bag of earth and plant some herbs in it. I’ve found that chives, rosemary, lavender and mint are all pretty hard to kill. They all smell lovely and you can cook with them too. Bonus.

3. Book a sunshiney break now.
Give yourself something to look forward to AND save yourself some dosh by booking a summery escape in advance. Last summer I headed to Mint Surf for a week of sea and vitamin D – this year I’m planning a boat trip in Greece. Staying closer to home? Check out Cool Camping and find a glamping site you can pitch your yurt in, or round up your mates and pick up some early bird festival tickets.

4. Spring clean your kit.
Now’s the time to haul out all your outdoors gear and look it over. Sew up any rips or tears, re wax your waterproofs and take advantage of the winter sales to replace anything that’s completely knackered out. If you’re replacing something that’s still usable, help save the world by sending it to Gift Your Gear. Now’s also a great time to find good deals on summer kit such as surf boards and swimwear, or get a great deal on a used board from Secondhand Boards. Look out for good deals on last season’s ski gear in the winter sales, too.

5. Make a little change
If you’re currently stuck shuttling from office to bus to pub to home and feeling like you’re never getting enough fresh air in your lungs, sit down and make a list of five ways you could add a bit of the outdoors to your daily routine. Little things make a big difference – eat lunch in the park, cycle or walk home from work, go for a quick run before you head out to a house party. Get organised and plan your weekends so that you do at least one outdoorsy activity properly a week, even if it’s only a long walk on your local heath. You’ll feel tons healthier and happier come spring, promise.

Have you got any little gems or simple pleasures that help you through hibernation? Let me know and I’ll add them to my list!

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2 Comments

  1. January 12, 2014 / 10:22 am

    If you spend your time somewhere well heated the relative humidity can get quite low during the winter, especially on any sub zero days. So up your water intake to feel more alert.

  2. Michael W.
    January 11, 2015 / 11:35 pm

    Check out light therapy, works for sending the winter blues packing. Don’t oversleep. Get some friends together and go picnic, ask everyone to bring their favorite winter food. Enough for everyone of course!

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