I talked about staying motivated in the winter here but I didn’t talk about the science behind why we lose our motivation. So, here it is.
Winter is where motivation goes to die. We all feel it; the dark nights draw in and the sofa calls your name. Here are some of the common reasons we lose our motivation in winter and how you can pick yourself back up again.
Seasonal Affective Disorder Isn’t A Made Up Thing
And it’s a very real problem in the UK. It’s actually a subset of depression, so if you feel really low, it’s not something to just ignore.
Combat this problem by getting yourself outside within two hours of waking up. Whatever the weather, be outside and in the fresh air. In the winter, I also use the Withings Aura Sleep System. It’s pricey – but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m never afraid to invest in my wellbeing. It wakes you up gradually with a light and sound programme. The lights are also akin to sunlight, to help you feel re-energised.
It’s Actually Not The Weather’s Fault
We can deal with the dreary weather. It’s actually the dark mornings and dark evenings that cause an onslaught of misery. For me, it’s a real struggle to wake up in the mornings at 6.30am. In the summer, I jump out of bed with the same amount of sleep at 6am.
My advice? Move abroad. I’m joking – I think. One way to kickstart the day, and something that has helped me, is getting a workout in early. Many of you will know I’m currently doing a 6-month regime with Body Clinic – sometimes all you need is to get out of a warm cocoon.
Has Your Diet Changed?
Typical summer foods include fresh fruit, water and light, airy meals. In the winter, all of my favourite fruit in the UK looks like shrivelled prunes and I end up swapping water for tea – because, well, warmth.
Because we spend less time out and about, we also spend more time on the sofa, snacking. I mean, am I meant to just sit there and watch TV without stuffing my face? I think not.
Combat this by buying healthier alternatives to your favourite snacks. I don’t mean sugar-free, carb-free, fun-free (I’ve tried that and it’s a hideous lifestyle choice), but you can buy dark chocolate (or Booja-booja!) instead of cheap milk chocolate. You can dip carrots and celery into humous instead of big fat kettle chips. And, why not get into the habit of finishing the day with a nice, warm cup of green tea.
I know it’s not as fun, but you really don’t want your Mum to try to plate you up on Christmas day – because she thinks you’re the pudding.
Has Your Sleep Pattern Changed?
Try to keep to the same sleep pattern each night. Strangely enough, I seem to go to sleep later in the winter; it must be all those box sets. I have found that waking up early (around 6.15am for me) and then having a cup of tea in bed, seems to ease me into my day.
The thought of having to get straight out and face the day doesn’t seem to be working for me at the moment, but this gentle awakening has helped.
Some people might find this a bit weird, but you can also sleep with your curtains open. It’s quite nice to be woken up naturally and it’s not as though the sun is going to come blasting in, in winter.
If little changes like this really aren’t picking up your mood, there is a lot of research to suggest that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (which you can get by seeing a counsellor) really does help. Don’t suffer in silence and if you can’t pick yourself up naturally, let people around you know. It’s not as uncommon as you might think and there are thousands of people up and down the country feeling the same way.