Ways to feel happier in winter

  • Winter can leave us feeling tired, sluggish, moody and seriously craving carbs
  • There are 6 things you can do to help overcome the winter blues; stay social, get active, stock up on vegetables, keep hydrated, get enough sunshine and surround yourself with nature
  • If you think you may depression or SAD, it is important that you see a doctor.

Winter. It can be pretty great. Think toasting marshmallows by a fireplace and drinking the occasional hot chocolate (the thick, melted kind).

But it can also come with some not so nice things. Such as the winter blues, and even Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that occurs in winter and is related to changes in light exposure. Even without SAD, which is relatively uncommon in Australia, we can all get down from time to time when the weather is dreary. Winter can leave us feeling tired, sluggish, moody and seriously craving carbs.

Luckily, there are some things you can do to help overcome the winter blues. Here’s how:

  1. Stay social. Sometimes it seems the only people you want to spend time with in winter are Jon Snow and Homer Simpson. Right? But spending time with loved ones (ie. actual people) is imperative for good mental health. Arrange a time on a weekly basis to do something you enjoy with other people.
  2. Get active. Swap your uggs for runners and your wine glass for weights. Regular exercise releases endorphins that make you feel happy, which is especially important in winter when you may not be feeling that fine and dandy. Even small changes can make a difference, like going for a walk in your lunch break or taking the stairs instead of the lift.
  3. Stock up on vegetables. There’s something about the colder weather that can make you want to eat chocolate, hot chips and drink red wine all in the one sitting. Swap junk food for nutritional dishes like veggie-laden soups and stews to feel nourished and satisfied at the same time.
  4. Drink up. Just because it’s not hot anymore, doesn’t mean you don’t need to stay hydrated. In fact, a common cause of tiredness is dehydration. Keep a water bottle on your desk and take sips throughout the day.
  5. Get your daily dose of sunshine. It’s a fact that studies has linked vitamin D deficiency and depression. Rug up as much as you need and go for a walk or run in the crisp, refreshing winter air to soak up some sun. Don’t forget to use sun protection when the UV index measures 3 or above and all year round in the snow.
  6. Turn over a new leaf. Did you know that just looking at nature can boost your mood? If it’s just too cold to go outside, try putting a pot plant or vase of flowers on your desk.

Remember, if you’re feeling really bad and these tips don’t help, it’s important to see a doctor. If it turns out you have a bout of depression or SAD, the right treatment can help you feel a whole lot healthier.

This information has been reviewed for Bupa by health professionals and to the best of their knowledge is current and based on reputable sources of medical research. It should be used as a guide only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical or other health professional advice. Bupa HI Pty Ltd (and its related entities) makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the recommendations or assessments and is not liable for any loss or damage you suffer arising out of the use of or reliance on the information, except that which cannot be excluded by law. We recommend that you consult your doctor or other qualified health professional if you have questions or concerns about your health.