How To Combat ‘Winter Depression’

How To Combat ‘Winter Depression’

I didn’t realise until a few years ago that the ‘winter depression’ was actually a thing and that I wasn’t the only person that experienced it. I’m hesitant to call what I have seasonal affective disorder (or SAD – the acronym makes it sound even more depressing!) as I haven’t been properly diagnosed, but most of my symptoms correlate. Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that comes during certain seasons, mainly winter.

I’ve always loved summer and never quite understood how anyone could ever enjoy the cold winter months, being tangled up in 10 layers and most of your day being dark. The only thing I really enjoyed about winter was Christmas, Halloween, the festive spirit and the snow. Although this year has been a lot better (I’m loving autumn/winter fashion at the moment!), I’m definitely still more of a summer girl: I love waking up to the sunlight beaming through the peeps of my blinds onto my bed, the warmth, the summer euphoria and all the activities that come along with it.

Throughout the years, I’ve always found my mood to be a lot lower during winter. I lack energy like no other, just feeling so fatigued in everything I do; I hate the artificial lights throughout the day, when my house lights being turned on in the morning when I wake up and in the early afternoon to evening; and I would struggle to get up every day so badly – I craved the warmth of my bed and the fact that it was dark outside at 7am just really upset me. I find that even if it’s summer and it’s dark and rainy outside, I don’t have energy throughout the day either! Through all of this, I’ve found some coping mechanisms that have helped me, especially in the transitioning stages of autumn to winter. If you feel you struggle with ‘winter depression’ or think you have or do have SAD, here are my favourite things to do to pick up the energy.

Make sure you have some light coming into your room in the morning for as long as you can

I refuse to have proper room-darkening blinds. I hate waking up in darkness and love having light come into my room. I currently have wooden blinds that let speckles of light seep through into the room when it’s daylight outside, so waking up for the past few weeks where it’s still daylight at 8 o’clock has been really nice. I know that will change soon, but it helps in the transition period!

Fill the space you work in with as much light as possible

I personally hate artificial light and try to rely on staying near a window for as long as possible, but sometimes it’s still a bit too dark. Turn the light on instead of being stuck in darkness! It sounds so simple, but even if it’s light outside, sometimes working with a light on brings my energy up.

Exercise

This I have discovered recently – not working out for a day really lowers my mood a lot, so working out throughout the winter could be the key to your problems. Exercise helps with stress levels (which is perfect for this day and age) and is just good for your overall health. I have found that my ‘winter depression’ has gone ever so slightly when I work out, so I would definitely give it a go (and for those who want a certain body for the summer, this is your time to start working!)

Stay outdoors when you can

Don’t just sit by a window – go outside! Again, this sounds so simple but it’s really effective. Just taking a little walk around and getting those steps in helps you not only expose yourself to sunlight, but again, relive stress. I’ve been craving going outdoors more this year because we’re missing out on so much due to coronavirus, so during lockdown, I’ll be taking more walks around my local area to keep my spirits up.

Maintain a balanced diet

It can be so difficult to reach for carbohydrates all the time during the winter – its ‘cosy food.’ And honestly, there’s nothing wrong with eating carbs! Just remember to eat in moderation. Try and find warm alternative foods like soup and porridge to eat. But also remember that Christmas is coming and you can splurge all you want then! Also, if you fancy comfort food, eat comfort food but remember to balance it out with healthier alternatives (more healthy than unhealthy!)

If you want to read more information on SAD, click here. Make sure to ask for help if you struggle severely with any of the symptoms. Stay safe and well!

The Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting University

Starting university can normally lead to one of three things: excitement; fear; or a bit of both. For me, it was definitely the third. I had no idea what to expect on this new journey, and it didn’t help that I wasn’t the most confident person. You almost want to watch a trailer of your […]

Sightseeing In Oxford – My Top 4

I’m finally back (hopefully with a bang), starting off my Oxford series from when I stayed there back in late August. Oxford is by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in the UK to date: its beautiful Gothic and Baroque architecture are the star of the show for me, but there’s plenty […]

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Starting University During COVID-19: A Complete Checklist To Get You Through The Year Ahead

Starting University During COVID-19: A Complete Checklist To Get You Through The Year Ahead

Coronavirus has led to much uncertainty in many many things. This is new to all of us, so everyone is just figuring things out as we go along. For us students, it means starting the new academic year knowing that everything is not going to be the way it was, which can be worrying when we’re left to our own devices.

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The journey of an unfit girl (me) getting fit(-ter) during lockdown

The journey of an unfit girl (me) getting fit(-ter) during lockdown

I wasn’t really into fitness before lockdown. When I say ‘into fitness’, I mean that I’m just more conscious and active about fitness, not that I’m the next fitness guru on the scene. What I have noticed though is that lockdown has changed me for the better, primarily in my fitness. I’m probably the most physically fit I’ve been and the most confident in my skin than ever before, and I couldn’t be more thankful for this period of time (in this regard anyways). I guess you could call this post my ‘fitness journey’ up to now.

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Designed To Inspire: Why Your Social Media Should Be Filled With Motivation Everyday

Designed To Inspire: Why Your Social Media Should Be Filled With Motivation Everyday

I’ve suddenly been hit with a flurry of inspiration. You know that little bubble of energy that suddenly builds inside you after seeing or hearing something that gives you the urge to do more? That hit me recently and I finally know what inspires me.

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Beneficial Habits I’ve Picked Up During Lockdown

Beneficial Habits I’ve Picked Up During Lockdown

Lockdown has allowed us to have more time for ourselves and has left us wondering what to do with our time (unless you’re an essential worker, and if that’s the case, thanks for your hard work!). Whether you think this free time is a good or bad thing, I’m sure most of us can agree we have been doing things differently in one way or the other, or have tried and tested things you maybe haven’t done before for the sake of not being bored.

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Black Lives Matter – What You Can Do

Black Lives Matter – What You Can Do

Below I’ve linked several pages full of petitions, information and ways to support black businesses and influencers. Don’t post a black box and not take action afterwards. This is not a trend. We all have to take action in whatever capacity we can. This is not a fully-fledged list, but a list with plenty of content to help inform, support and donate however you can. I will never fully understand but I will stand, always.

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A Social Media-Free Day: How Social Media Has Impacted On Our Lives

A Social Media-Free Day: How Social Media Has Impacted On Our Lives

During this lockdown, my screen time has been crazy, with it being somewhere around nine and a half hours for almost the entire time. Crazy, right?

In this day and age, it’s normal to see people always looking down at their phones: answering messages, checking notifications, scrolling through social media. It’s just part of our everyday lives now.

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Mental Health Awareness Week: Why We Need To Keep Talking About Mental Health And Why We Should Always Choose Kindness

Mental Health Awareness Week: Why We Need To Keep Talking About Mental Health And Why We Should Always Choose Kindness

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and I thought it was important to shift my normal blogging content to this topic as discussing mental health is very close to my heart. I believe that mental health should be spoken about freely and without stigma, and sure, it is spoken about a lot more especially in recent years, but it is not without judgement or stigma in some places.

Continue reading “Mental Health Awareness Week: Why We Need To Keep Talking About Mental Health And Why We Should Always Choose Kindness”

Why Quarantine Is The Best Time To Work On Yourself

Why Quarantine Is The Best Time To Work On Yourself

Quarantine can be a lonely and very very boring time, but we all just need to remember that staying home is necessary and we all have to do it – it’s for the better good.
However quarantine doesn’t have to be completely boring – trust me, I’ve had the days that go past that are so (so, so) boring, but in times like this, it’s more than possible to make the most of it, and make it a positive experience, despite all the negativity that’s going on in the world right now.

You have all this time now to do whatever it is you want to do. Sure, you may have some work or life priorities, but I’m sure you have more free time than before. Seize this opportunity to the fullest – you may never get it again. This may be the time where you can start to form new and beneficial habits for the future.
I can safely say that being in quarantine has been a positive experience for me for the most part: I’ve definitely had my ups and downs, but I can say that I’ve been working on myself in many different ways, and am becoming more and more happy about the person I am growing into. You have all this time to work on yourself now – make the most of it. Here are some ways I’m making the most out of quarantine:


Working out (properly)


There’s no excuses now – I have all the time in the world to work out. Luckily for me, I would take home workouts over the gym any day of the week. Instagram and Youtube has plenty of content at the moment for home workouts, especially with no equipment, so I keep saving them and I try to do it as often as I can. I think making yourself do them is the way forward: just do 15/20 minutes each day and you’ll start to see results. For me personally, I feel best when I feel good about the way I look, knowing that I’m keeping strong and healthy. I’ve been on quite the journey with fitness in general, and I feel like I’ve come a long way in this quarantine period (I might write a blog post about my fitness journey at some point, if you would all like to see it?)

Going outside (when safe)

We’ve been lucky enough to have (short) periods of amazing weather in the UK, so why not make the most of it? Catch those rays and sit out in the garden (if you have an outside space available to you) and tan. Get that bronzed skin! I’ve caught the slightest of tans out in my garden over a few days, but fake tan will do, for those who burn in the first hour. Or, you can go for a daily walk around the block and get your fitness and some fresh air all at the same time – clean, fresh air can help clear your skin too (especially if you have any acne). I’ve been taking walks to my local high street instead of taking the car (it’s 10 minutes tops, I shouldn’t really be driving there). It’s nice walking with family members too, just having some quality time with them which you may not have when you’re slightly busier.

Really focus on your work

Times are tough right now for those in education, with a significant decrease in the amount of resources available to us right now (I could genuinely write a whole debate on this), but at the end of the day, we just need to get on with it. Use this time to really crack on with work and get ahead of the game: start grafting, ask teachers or colleagues in advance for any help you may need and then you’ll have more time to do things you enjoy more. Just push for success – it’ll be over before you know it.

Explore your creative side

I finally printed out all the photos I had on my phone from the past few years and started to scrapbook them, putting in cute little doodles and exploring different design options: scrapbooking memories is a great way to get creative and have something you’re proud of to look back at for your fun memories. I’ve also started drawing again on and off: it’s something I used to do in primary school a lot, and I used to love doodling on the margins of my work in secondary school, so actually picking it up and spending time on drawing for pleasure has been great: I’m tapping into my childhood passions again. My dad also found an old paint set of mine, so I’ll be sure to try out a new creative outlet.

Creativity is so important: keeping your creativity alive opens up your mind to everything really and helps you relax and create something you can be proud of and enjoy at the same time. There’s so many different forms of creativity: spend the time finding which outlet provokes the best version of you.

Go out of your comfort zone

I’m still working on this, but it’s so important to try new things. Try new ideas you’ve had in the back of your mind and don’t care what anyone has to say about it. Start that Instagram page, try baking that chocolate pudding, indulge in that new business verture, dress up in those clothes that have been begging to be worn, even if your destination is Costa del Sofa and not Costa del Sol. Try something new, and I promise you won’t be sorry (and if you are sorry, try have a laugh about what happened later).

Reflection on each day

I didn’t think I was going to include this, because I never really realised I was doing it until now. Every day, I reflect and think about how far I’ve come – the person I’m becoming. Through the good and the bad days, take a minute to sit back and think about what you’ve achieved. Think about the small gains you’ve made, and how consistent you’ve been, or even that you pushed yourself to try something new today. You’re trying, and that’s all that matters. You’re putting in the effort to become a better person, and that’s all the matters.

Letters to Loved Ones

Letters to Loved Ones

In this difficult time, it’s easy to missed loved ones, especially if you’re used to seeing them often. I’ve been thinking about those around me a lot more, and I can’t wait to see them again.

I had been thinking for a while to do something maybe a tad unusual but something a bit more meaningful, especially for family. I had an idea a while ago to write some handwritten letters, just checking up on them and expressing my gratitude and appreciation for them (this most probably was better for me as my family lives abroad, so I can’t see them as much). However, the coronavirus came around and I realised that we’re not seeing everyone we love and appreciate as much anymore, and I think we all need some cheering up during this strange time.

This is why I have come up with Letters to Loved Ones. Letters to Loved Ones is simply where you write a letter or message to someone you wish to reach out with a bit more and brighten up their day (I feel like this would be the best idea for grandparents). I do want to expand this idea out a bit more though: I’m making my Letters to Loved Ones to those around me who deserve a reminder of how great they are. It doesn’t matter how long or short this may be, but just something unexpected that will boost their mood a little. If you don’t want to write a letter (it’s not for everyone, it’s just the writer in me that appreciates a good old-fashioned letter), send a message to a friend and tell them how much they mean to you. It could also be someone that you don’t speak to as often that deserves a bit of unexpected love.

I’ve hand-written a couple of my own (to family etc.), but I’m going to end this blog post with little online messages of my own. Today, try and send a message to those you care about. Do a good thing today.

To those close to me, if you spot which message is for you, I wanted to say thank you, because you truly deserve the world.

To my mum’s biggest fan,

You’re not just my friend, your family at this point. Thank you for putting up with me after all these years and I couldn’t be more glad that we met. I miss our little Costa tea outings, our London trips and just having the longest chats with you (even when my mum infiltrates and we have a group conversation). I know I can always count on you, and I know you’ll always ground me when I’m not thinking straight. I trust you with the world and your friendship means so much to me. You’re so funny, genuine and a little fighter and I love that so much about you. When this is all over, we have to finally get on that night out we always spoke about, and I’ll try the famous WooWoo drink you spoke about. Hope you’re keeping well, and I’ll facetime you soon with a cuppa ready.

To my travel buddy,

In the short space of time we’ve known each other, we’ve been on so many adventures: from Greece to The Netherlands, and hopefully many more to come (maybe we’ll make that festival in Spain one year!). I’m so grateful that we met. You made my uni experience 10x better and I don’t know what I would’ve done if I hadn’t met you. I know I can trust you and come to you with advice for anything. You’re one of the people that really started to get me out my comfort zone in the best way and start to live my life more fully and explore more. I’ve had so much fun with you and I love how open we are with each other. I cherish you as a close friend so so much. You’ve got such a good heart and I can’t wait for our next car ride, blasting Stormzy and Tinie Tempah.

To the biggest tea drinker I know,

I’ve sure met a lot of people who love tea, but I’ve never met someone who can down 5+ cups of tea in a day as a normal agenda. Thank you so much for being so amazing. You make me laugh, you always make me feel comfortable and you’re one of the kindest souls I’ve ever met. I don’t think I ever told you this, but thinking back now, I remember meeting you and just wanting to be your friend. You were just so lovely and sweet. You’re one of those people that the more you get to know, the more you don’t expect and that’s so interesting. I can’t wait for our next Spoons meetup (or maybe even Wimbledon meetup, depends if you’re working at the pizza section again, then I’ll come rescue you for 10 minutes!).

To The Lowkey H***,

I had to put you two together. I mean, how can I not? We come as collective. I wanted to start off by saying that you both have been my rock for a lot of things. My go-to’s. I couldn’t be more appreciative of that. I will forever cherish how good you both have been to me, and how we’ve always had each others backs through stupid guys to stupid ‘friendships’. I miss our little adventures, and we’re due another Little Venice and Hyde Park trip again. You both always know how to start a party and have fun and I love that. I’m going to start off with B and say that you’re one of the kindest and funniest people I’ve ever met. You go out of your way to make everyone feel comfortable and include everyone. You’ve never failed to give your all when it comes to being a good friend and I truly appreciate that. You’ve always checked up on me in my toughest times and I’ll never ever forget that. C, you’re absolutely hilarious. You’re so honest and are truly loyal to the people you care about most. You’re never afraid to stick up for what you believe in and other people, and that’s so admirable. You’ve actually taught me so much (I probably ask you way too many personal questions, I’m so sorry) and I want to thank you for being an equally good friend and putting up with my shit. I love you both so much.

These are just my closest friends, but there are others that also mean a lot that I appreciate so much. I hope these maybe give you inspiration to write your own. Throughout this quarantine period, I’ll try to send as many short messages as I can expressing my gratitude. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Sending you all love and I hope you are all safe and well x

The Group Chat: I Asked 4 Different Women Where They Find Their Inspiration And What Motivates Them

The Group Chat: I Asked 4 Different Women Where They Find Their Inspiration And What Motivates Them

Welcome to the start of my new series, The Group Chat. The Group Chat will be a blog series in which I will ask a selection of people from different backgrounds, upbringings and walks of life a variety of questions. The questions will vary: from everyday life questions to the deep, powerful questions that need to be voiced. I created this because as good as it is to have one person (me) writing about different concepts, everyone is different and will have different opinions or ways of doing things. Everyone’s voice needs to be heard.

Today, I brought up a question which I believe is very relevant during this lockdown period. I constantly hear about people lacking motivation, or leaving things for another day (which is perfectly okay!), but sometimes, we just need that spark of inspiration. However outside of lockdown, lacking inspiration is very real and can be very frustrating.

For this question, I asked it quite generally and broadly: ‘where do you find your motivation and what inspires you?’

Person #1:

I think I find my inspiration in others, especially the people I care about, and seeing them work hard and push to be their best selves motivates me to want to do the same. One of my biggest motivators that pushes me to get out of bed each morning is realising that our future is created by what we do today, not tomorrow. All our hard work, whether that be on ourselves, our education or our career will all pay off in the end. Knowing that I’ll make the people I care about proud by doing and being the best I can be makes it worth it.

“our future is created by what we do today, not tomorrow”

Person #2:

My inspiration is ever changing and growing, although the two main inspirations that have never changed are that of my mum and nan. They show me what hard work and determination can get you and to never let your self-doubt and others opinions deter you from what you want, and to always strive for progress and to never get complacent. They’ve shown me that even through tough times there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

My mums push for success and encouragement (in the form of threats), are what motivates me to do my best and to get where I want in life. Also, the motivation of being successful and making money, so that I can travel around the world, so I can get my tan on and eat all different cultural cuisines – are what push me to aim for success.

“never let your self-doubt and others opinions deter you from what you want, and to always strive for progress and to never get complacent”

Person #3:

I always write a list of things to do that day which is usually quite short – it keeps me on track and it’s nice to be able to actually tick things off. I also find it helpful to do something small in the morning to tick off straightaway as then you’ve started the day off being productive, which always makes me feel more motivated. Also, take breaks – there’s nothing worse than spending hours on something with no break at all (at least for me).

In terms of motivation and inspiration, I think the most important thing is enjoyment. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, be it studying, working out or just general activities, you won’t want to do it. The more you enjoy it, the more you will look forward to doing it, and therefore get it done. Also listening to people talk about what they love, be it either a friend or a family member or just an online talk always makes me feel inspired.

I also take inspiration and motivation from others. If you like what they are doing, copy it.

“the more you enjoy it, the more you will look forward to doing it, and therefore get it done”

Person #4:

My motivation varies from time to time, but I know I can always rely on Pinterest or Youtube whenever I need inspiration – from motivational ‘Study with Me’ when I am not bothered to start any uni coursework, or workout videos when I’ve been lacking inspiration for new moves. However, the quote I always tell myself that manages me to get moving is “get it done now rather than later because no one is else is going to do it for you”. If you have time in this moment right now, why would you want to wait till later when plans may pop up?

“get it done now rather than later because no one is else is going to do it for you”

My Answer:

I normally look at the people around me for inspiration or motivation, whether it be friends, family or people I follow online. Watching other people triumph or even completing small, personal goals for the day, week or month really motivates me. I make sure to surround myself with a good circle of people that have similar goals in life to some capacity: their goals may not even be related in terms of field, but having people that work hard, strive to do their best and have fun doing it inspire me. My parents, who have worked hard their whole life, have engrained in me that no work doesn’t get you anywhere: I was never brought up not to work hard for what I want. No one is going to do the work for you, so you have to do it yourself.

As for procrastination (the reason I’m not acting on any motivation), I always try to remind myself that Youtube and Netflix is always going to be there when I come back, but getting myself to do work that requires deadlines of a sort will not, so just get it out the way and come back.

Do whatever it is you want to do in small portions, set small goals to build up to your ultimate goal. Be realistic in what you want to do, and don’t let other people’s opinions hold you back. As cheesy as it sounds, you need to work to achieve the life you dream of – it’s possible.

I hope you enjoyed this style of post, and I hope it helps with any lacking inspiration or motivation you may have. Remember to look round you: it may be closer than you think. I loved working with all these people and I hope (if they’re up for it) that we can continue to work together more. It was so interesting hearing other people’s points of view on one collective post.

If you have any ideas for more group chat questions you want answered, please leave a comment below or send a DM on Instagram!