Whether you specifically suffer from Season Affective Depression or not, everyone agrees that the sun starting to set around four is suuuper miserable.
Given that today is the shortest day of the year, and that Daylight Savings Time won’t kick in until March 26 2017, we’ve decided to help by putting together a list of things you can do to make the next few dark months a little less depressing.
1. Maximise your daylight hours
It’s great having a lie-in on the weekends, but there’s nothing worse than waking up around midday and realising that it will be dark in four hours. It feels like you’ve lost the whole day.
During winter, why not try to adjust your sleeping times so that you go to bed earlier and wake up earlier? You’ll feel more productive and cheery and it’ll reduce that feeling of endless night. Even if you don’t go outside, which you should, sit close to a window to get the benefits.
2. Try to find the positive aspects of winter
Winter isn’t all bad. It gives you the perfect excuse to get cozy in front of the fire, to bundle up warm, to drink copious amounts of hot drinks, to wear big jumpers and fluffy socks and to treat yourself with a little extra TLC.
3. Learn how to cook some hearty meals
When it’s freezing outside, there’s nothing nicer than having something warm and filling. Think lasagnes, shepherd’s pie, noodle soup.
My favourite quick warm dinner is layering slices of aubergine, sweet potato and tomato in a baking dish, topping them with herbs, a buttload of mozzarella and olive oil, and throwing the dish in the oven until it's crispy on top.
4. Brighten up your living quarters
Just because Christmas ends, it doesn’t mean you have to take down all the fairy lights or put away the candles.
While not the same as natural light, it should make you happier if your home is brighter.
5. Find an indoor hobby
Give yourself something fun to do indoors that doesn’t involve watching TV the whole time.
Rekindle your love of reading, start writing that novel, play board games with your friends and family, or even just get back into playing computer games.
6. Get some exercise
Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t feel as depressed.
I’m not suggesting jogging in the rain. Why not go for a swim in your local pool, join a gym or try some exercise videos at home? Youtube is filled with them.
7. Take Vitamin D supplements
Scientists in UCC estimate that 1 in 8 Irish people suffers from Vitamin D deficiency.
Because Ireland is so far north, we only get sunlight strong enough to produce Vitamin D between April and September. This vitamin is important for the absorption of calcium and the general operation of our immune systems.
You can get daily supplements from your local pharmacy, but be careful not to exceed to dosage.
8. Get some nice winter clothes
If you have some nice things to wear come winter time, you’ll look forward to it a bit more. Think good boots, a warm coat, hats and scarves and anything else that’ll make you feel confident walking down the street.
9. Go away
If you’re lucky enough to have money to travel, winter is the perfect time to get away. It’s the low season so everything is usually a lot cheaper. It’ll give you something to look forward to. And it gives you the chance to go somewhere that might be slightly warmer and brighter than here.