January’s* always been the long dark month. Winter’s set in, the Christmas lights are down and while the days are getting longer, they’re still cold and dark. I’m lucky Barcelona’s sunny all year round. However I’ve noticed this winter and past autumn and summer there’s been more cloud cover. Some days the only times you see the sun is for an hour or 2 after sunrise and then just before sunset. Other days it’s grey skies for 3 days with hardly any sun.
*January for the Northern Hemisphere. I’m guessing July for the Southern Hempishere.
I don’t mention it much as it’s place I don’t like to return much. My first 6 months in France, me and the cats shared a 45m2 apartment with just 1 window. Admittedly there were 2. 1 over looking the indoor public stairwell. The apartment had limited natural light. The main window only saw a slither of sunlight for 30 minutes a day. Diesel (cat) used to wait for the sun and follow it sunbathing. Outside I was always happier, but I knew the cats weren’t while I was out getting vitamin D. I swore to myself after that place, never again just natural light, I need sunlight. The cats needed sunlight. None of us were happy. The lack of sunlight was one factor. I appreciate sunshine a lot more after that place. Plus growing up in the one country with perhaps the best reputation for cold grey days, Britain, here are my tips to help beat SAD and winter blues, minus the light lamp.
Consider Colour Psychology
Up until a few years ago I wore the usual dark grey, black winter jumpers. It wasn’t until about 3 winters ago I noticed that Katrina from Tone It Up hardly wore any black or dark colour tops. She always seem to radiate. It helps she lives in Southern California. I might not live there, but I can invest in some lighter colour tops! The transformation on my mood was nearly instant. Colour has such a huge effect on our lives and moods. I felt different wearing lighter colours. In a weird way I felt lighter! Now I instantly gravitating to white and lighter colour tops shopping. The other day I got a long sleeved running top in a peachy coral colour. A few years ago it would have been black only.
Chriselle Lim’s another who, through her blog also inspired me to wear lighter colours. Now I find my self instantly reaching for white, cream, dusky pinks tops. The other day browsing the racks I was amongst black, dark green, mustard colours and the only way to describe how I felt was claustrophobic with a dehydration headache! Even my winter scarves are lighter colours in winter weight! My winter coat this season I purposely chose a navy over black. Little changes making a huge difference. I’ve stopped wearing greys, even light greys. That’s not to say I don’t wear black. I live in black leggings and black Nike trainers running errands and ironically I have more black summer tops than winter. I pair them up with a lighter bottom, the neck line’s not so close to my face and it makes my tan pop. Patterns and textures also play a part. How material feels can also affect us.
It’s not just clothes I’ve applied colour therapy too. I also applied to my interior decorating if you can call it that. You guessed hardly any dark colours! Instead whites (gives the illusion of space), golds with pops of tropical colour! Never underestimate the power of colour! Ever wondered why most gyms and fitness equipment is blue? That’ll be because it’s productivity colour. It’s also a trusting colour which is why most social media platforms are blue. The psychology of colour’s amazing whether it’s subliminal or boldly in your face. It depends on the shade and tone. For example, blue productivity, yellow happiness, black, serious or empowering, orange energising, etc. More information on colour theory can be found here and here. Surround yourself with colours that make you feel good, not bring you down!
I can’t overestimate this enough! It doesn’t matter what it is; running, walking, cycling, zumba, weights etc exercise gets endorphins going. Some days I delay it, but once I’ve made myself lace up my trainers, I’m ready! It’s gets the blood moving, which kinda reenergises you. Plus it can help strengthen the immune system.
Sunlight /Get outdoors!
Even if it’s not perfect outdoor weather. Just being away from being in indoors, feeling fresh air can make staleness disappear making you feel instantly better. Okay if it’s weather not even ducks go out in, I get it, but try to get outside when you can. Even grey days have some energy boosting, mind clearing power. If it happens to be a sunny day, well you’re smiling!
I know some people take vitamin D tablets to counter absence of sunlight. Even though Barcelona’s sunny, my daily multi vitamin contains vitamin D along with B vitamins that prove tricky to get in an all plant based diet.
As some of you know, I’m currently decluttering my belongings using KonMari Method. Mari Kondo, points out that our clutter is an extension of ourselves. Ditch the unwanted, unnecessary clutter that blogs you down. Why be surrounded by things you don’t find joy in if you don’t have to?
Food Be Thy Medicine
Okay, so I’m biased on this one. I’m mostly a raw vegan on account of my cooking skills. I’m not saying go vegan, but ditch the processed food that doesn’t make you feel good. It’s easy to reach for comfort sugary and other processed food because it’s easy and initially makes you feel good. Even I do it and I pay the price. My weakness are crisps and sweets. A few’s okay, but if I have too much, especially sugar my mood changes. It’s like I OD on the sugar and become legtheric and grumpy later. Fresh fruit and vegetables for me are energising. Take pineapple for example. After eating a few pieces my skin especially my face instantly feels refreshed. After a while you begin to crave the fresh fruit and veg over processed food. But don’t deny yourself completely to ‘bad’ food. A little every now and then’s okay and we are human.
Again this is me, after cooked food I feel the food coma. My body’s adjusted to the raw food. I’m not saying switch to being a raw vegan, but consider moods after eating. And kept hydrated. It’s harder in the winter but like that pineapple afterwards you feel refreshed instantly!
Spring and Summer’s Coming
Nothing lasts for forever. Neither does winter! The days are already getting longer!
What are your tricks for beating the winter blues? Do you suffer from SAD? What tricks help you?
Colour chart taken from Google Images