low sun winter

The winter months can knock you a little off course, with lack of daylight, change in temperature and at times, challenging weather adding to the mix.

The days have certainly drawn in here in Scotland, and with this you may experience a lack of motivation and struggle to stay positive.

If you are feeling like this, you arenโ€™t alone. However, it is worth exploring why this is, and whether there may be hidden issues at play.

Why is it harder to stay on track and remain positive in the Winter months?

There are a multitude of reasons why you may struggle with motivation and positivity at this time of year:

  • The darker days and dropping temperatures make it harder to get outside, so you exercise less and miss out on all the benefits of movement and time outdoors, as well as not benefitting being out in natural daylight.
  • Although a joyful time for many, the Festive season also comes with financial pressures, and more socialising can lead to lower energy levels.
  • Work stress can increase as the end of the year approaches, with deadlines and milestones looming before the holidays.

It is also important to note that sometimes, this struggle to stay on track and remain positive could have deeper roots.

Seasonal Affective Disorder โ€“ also known as SAD โ€“ impacts over two million people in the UK every year and is particularly prevalent during the darker days of the Winter months, as discussed in a previous blog (click HERE).

According to the NHS, here are some of the key symptoms of SAD:

  • Persistent low mood
  • Increased irritability
  • Decreased energy levels
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and despair

Should you believe you are struggling with SAD, professional help may be your best option.

But for anyone struggling with staying positive and keeping on track, these tips may help you make some improvements.

Tips for Staying on Track and Keeping Positive During Darker Days

๐ŸŒŸGet out of bed quickly

When you wake up to pitch black mornings, the temptation to stay in bed can be hard to resist.One way to stay on track is to establish achievable habits as part of your morning routine that get your day started quickly.

Here are a few bite-sized activities you could try:

  • Don’t snooze your alarm, instead get up and do a home workout.
  • Get up to make a cuppa, starting the day on a slower mode but you’ve still kickstarted the day.
  • Journalling with your morning coffee, to allow for some peaceful reflection.
  • Have a notepad ready to jot down any To Do items that jump to mind, ticking off as completed.

And if the dark mornings are really getting you down, a light-based alarm clock may be of help. Rather than being startled by a loud ringtone, your alarm clock would instead become gradually brighter as your wake-up time approaches, so that your room is bathed in light by the time you open your eyes.

๐ŸŒŸPrioritise sunlight

Feeling down and less motivated is a physical response to having less exposure to Vitamin D from the sun. This is partly due to your circadian rhythm, which controls your body clock. Exposure to light helps your body understand that it is time to wake up and start the day, while darkness helps you understand itโ€™s time to go to sleep.

This is why getting up on dark mornings feels so hard โ€“ your body is fighting against you!

The best kind of light to get in the morning is natural light. A reduction in sunlight can decrease your serotonin and dopamine levels, which negatively impacts your mood. Natural light is full of a spectrum of colours, which helps your bodyโ€™s regulation both physically and emotionally.

Feel the sun on your face as soon after waking up as possible. Even if you donโ€™t have time to go for a walk, open the front door and stand outside.

Try and work in areas with natural light sources too. The more exposure you get, the more your body and mood will be in balance.

๐ŸŒŸSpend time outdoors

With sunlight in mind, you wonโ€™t be surprised that my next tip is to get outdoors.

Brisk walks in the crisp and cold weather are so invigorating. Even on the days when you hear the wind rattling your windows and you want to burrow back into bed. Itโ€™s worth it, I promise!

Try and spend time outdoors at least once per day, preferably in the morning if you can manage it. I would also suggest trying to take a walk on your lunch break each day too, as a way of breaking up your working day.

The more time you can spend outdoors, the better your mental clarity and mood will be, which will lead you to a more productive and enjoyable day.

๐ŸŒŸNourish your body

Itโ€™s normal to crave comfort foods during the darker and colder months, particularly carbohydrates such as pasta and potatoes, which can result in a diet that makes you feel sluggish and less motivated. Look after your energy by ensuring you get enough fruit, vegetables, and whole foods into your body too.

You should also consider adding Vitamin D sources into your diet, such as:

  • Red meat
  • Egg yolks
  • Oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel
  • Vitamin D supplements

Although the winter months can be challenging, remember this season will soon pass. After 21st December (winter solstice), light duration of the day slowly increases, and by February the daylight change is very noticeable. View winter darkness with a fresh perspective and where you can better manage and perhaps have less negative impact than previously experience.

butterfly logo area

Similar Posts