Johanna Rumphorst

Sydney is the city of sea and sun, so dropping temperatures and seasonal winter blues are hitting extra hard in those colder months. Good thing that the recent lockdown trained us how to spend more time indoors and make the most out of Sydney’s winter.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is believed to be caused by the changing seasons. Typically, symptoms begin to worsen around autumn and peak during the winter months. Symptoms of SAD are similar to other forms of depression, including feelings of hopelessness, lack of concentration, social withdrawal, and fatigue. Treatments for SAD include medication, talk therapy, exercise and eating a healthy diet.​    Here are 5 tips to banish your winter blues!

1.  Drink something warm

If it’s cold and grey, we usually feel down. What is better to lift the mood than a warm drink? Hot chocolate is the classic comfort drink and easy to make. You just need cocoa powder, your choice of milk (heated up), sweetener and extras like vanilla syrup. A cup of fresh peppermint tea is great before going to bed, peppermint is caffeine free and helps you to relax. You only need fresh peppermint and boiled water. Honey is a great natural sweetener but totally optional.

Another great hot drink is the turmeric latte or golden milk, that’s not only delicious and heart-warming but also really healthy. If you haven’t tried it yet now is the perfect time! The drink developed in India and is very easy to make – you only need good quality ground turmeric powder, freshly grounded black pepper (your body needs it to absorb the nutrients in turmeric), your choice of warm milk and a small amount of fat like coconut oil or organic ghee. Optional but a great addition would be cinnamon or vanilla extract. Curcumin, turmeric’s most significant compound, has many health benefits and is even being used to treat depression – perfect to fight winter blues!  

2.  Vitamin D 

Due to darker days and grey weather, our body and mind suffers under the lack of Vitamin D.

Many try supplements to balance that out, but food is a great and natural way to get your Vitamin D. Try out some new recipes with salmon, herring, canned tuna or sardines – all of them are high in Vitamin D. Another great source are eggs, especially the egg yolk.  Fortified Milk Substitutes like soymilk but also soy yogurt and tofu are also high in vitamin D as well as mushrooms. Besides a diet change you should also spend at least 15 minutes a day outside, even if it’s rainy. Your mood and body will thank you later!

3.  Heating blanket or hot water bottle 

If you experience winter blues it’s usually recommended to spend time in front of a fireplace. Another comforting way to warm yourself up are electric heating blankets or the good old hot water bottle! A hot bath also works wonders and is recommended if you experience winter depressions. 

4.    Ease Stress

This tip is not new, but it’s so important! The wintertime is perfect to take care of ourselves, and we hopefully all had some practice during lockdown. Try out aromatherapy or meditation to calm down. Another great way are relaxing workouts like yoga and pilates. In order to ease stress, it’s essential to take care of your sleep as well as reducing your screen time. A good book before going to bed can be an easy change to calm you down and help improve your sleep. 

5.  Introduce Hygge

With most of the social distancing measures eased, we can finally spend physical time with friends and family. Hygge is the Danish art of comfort – and Danes are the second happiest people in the world! Danes are trained to live in the cold and invented hygge to survive the cold and dark winter months. The idea is to spend a cosy evening with your friends or family. It’s common to light a candle, put on some nice music and cook a meal for your loved ones. Nothing crazy and nothing new. It’s about consciously taking quality time for yourself and to make the most out of the wintertime. Some hygge time will definitely help you beat your winter blues and luckily spring is around the corner (almost).