Feeling Blue? You’re not alone.
The beginning of the year can be challenging for many of us as we navigate the cold and dark.
Corin Pilling offers three things you can do to help lift your mood in winter.
At this time of the year, many of us hit a seasonal low. Even though we’re far from experiencing a harsh winter this year, there’s little energy in the weather. Social opportunities tend to be more limited, and we feel the impact of the short days. The spring seems a long way off. ‘Can it really be less than a month since Christmas? ‘ we might ask ourselves. So what can we do when we hit that low? Firstly, we need to ask ourselves, has this been going on for some time? If we’re concerned that we‘ve experienced low mood for some time, then we might need to seek help from our GP. If it feels more temporary, some suggestions to help:
Connecting with nature can help improve our mood. Whilst many of us may not have a field or a river near us, even choosing to head out for a walk in our neighbourhood can offer a boost. If we are in nature, our senses will be heightened. Approach your time outside as an opportunity to be open to the world around you. You might choose to smile, rather than keeping your head down. Ask God to help you notice something afresh as you walk. Even bringing nature into your home by buying some flowers is a positive action- a symbol of new life in front of you can boost your mood.
When we’re feeling low, we can seek to numb out our feelings. This can manifest in eating more than we would normally, or binge watching TV series and boxsets. Instead of bingeing, try a more intentional approach. Think about cooking something new and healthy- this takes way more effort than ordering a pizza, but offers greater satisfaction. Let go of any idea of perfection and try it. The effort required will help you focus, shifting your mind-set to a more conscious place. Rather than watching a whole box set, have a think about a film that reminds you its good to be alive, such as Up or Groundhog Day. Inviting someone to watch with you could also create connection. Who might appreciate a gentle invitation?
Think of someone who might benefit from your contact. Do you know somebody who may be struggling? Even if you’re feeling low- making a call to someone else could be a boost to you both. We can often feel that our own low mood is unique- yet many experience this and will benefit from extra contact. If a visit seems a stretch, even a 5 minute call or an encouraging text can build connection. If you’re buying those flowers for yourself, is there anybody else who might appreciate a bunch too?
A proven way to boost mood is through gratitude and it’s most effective to do this daily. Every day for 5 days write down at 10 things, you are grateful for.
This practice helps us connect with our-God given nature. Writing the ten or more things a day you’re grateful for, will really help you recognise the good that is present in your world, even in the difficult times.
Try this and see. Perhaps invite a friend to do join you and share your results- it may help you keep up the habit. Studies has shown this really works. Keep going with this and before you know it… spring will be here.
Livability offer training to run The Happiness Course which helps communities explore purpose, meaning and happiness together
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Livability have also produced a bible- based guide to explore wellbeing, called Together For Good, available here:
[thrive_link color=’orange’ link=’https://livability.org.uk/resources/together-for-good/’ target=’_self’ size=’medium’ align=’aligncenter’]Get your free copy of Together for Good[/thrive_link]