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This time of year can leave us feeling low, lethargic and craving stodgy food. Cold weather, less daylight (plus the hecticness of Christmas and new year) can sometimes make it hard for us to feel happy and motivated and the winter blues can set in. Follow these tips to help you feel upbeat and more energised…

GET OUTDOORS

We all know that regular exercise can boost your mood but getting outdoors to exercise in the sunlight will increase your intake of vitamin D as well as make you feel good. Try and make the most of the daylight hours by getting out every day, even if it’s for a 15 minute walk or why not plan a lovely wintery walk at the weekend?. The fresh air will also help you to feel refreshed and revitalised. There’s nothing like a long winter walk to feed the soul!

BOOST YOUR IMMUNITY

Boosting your immunity over winter will help you to stay healthy and happier! Herbs and spices have antiviral properties which can help boost your immune system. Aim to eat seasonal foods and colourful fruits and vegetables which are rich in antioxidants. Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and sugar which can all suppress the immune system. Take echinacea over the colder months which can have a positive effect on the immune system. You could also try burning or diffusing essential oils – frankincense and lavender can help to prevent the spread of infections in the home. One of the best things you can do for your immunity is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep – most people need six to eight hours a night – just make sure you’re getting what you need.

GET TOUCHY-FEELY!

Oxytocin, the feel-good hormone, is released when we feel comfort and love – so get hugging!

FEED YOURSELF HAPPY

Having a healthy diet can improve your overall mood and give you more energy. Eat regular meals and choose foods that release energy slowly to help to keep your sugar levels steady. Slow-release energy foods include pasta, rice, oats, wholegrain bread and cereals, nuts and seeds. Make sure you eat breakfast every day and avoid too many foods which make your blood sugar rise and fall rapidly, such as sweets, biscuits, sugary drinks and alcohol. Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day as if you don’t drink enough fluid, you may find it difficult to concentrate or think clearly.

Try making comforting homemade soups and casseroles which will keep you healthy and give you a boost. Find soup recipes here, casserole recipes here and some yummy vegetarian roasting tin recipes here.

SELF-CARE

There’s a saying ‘Self care isn’t selfish’ and it’s true – you’re no good to anyone if you’re not looking after yourself! Winter is the perfect time to book yourself in for a massage or a reflexology session. Massage increases your circulation, warms up your body and boosts immunity by improving blood and lymph flow. Reflexology can also give your immune system and mood a boost and feels incredibly relaxing. Regular massage (whether body, head or facial) and reflexology sessions aid wellbeing by triggering the release of serotonin and endorphins. They can also relieve stress and aid restful and good quality sleep.

You could also try some hand reflexology on yourself to help boost your mood. Watch this hand reflexology video for mood improvement by The Association of Reflexologists.