As winter approaches, and the days are dark and cold, we can often experience lethargy, low spirits and a case of the winter blues. Follow these five tips to ease the winter blues and keep your mojo alive through the darkest time of the year.

1 Get outside for an hour every day

Sometimes the last thing we want to do on a cold wintry day is to go outside. It seems much more tempting to stay indoors and light the fire. However, there are many health and mood-boosting benefits to getting some natural daylight each day in winter. Spending time outdoors can beat the winter blues by keeping our body clock’s running well, boosting our metabolism and helping us overcome those sluggish feelings we so often feel in winter. In addition, getting some daylight each day is essential to keep vitamin D levels topped up.

Spending time in nature  has also been linked with boosts in serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter. So, make your outdoor time in natural surroundings if you can.

2 Invest in a daylight lamp

To boost light levels further, consider investing in a daylight lamp or full spectrum light bulb. These types of light emit full spectrum light and effectively replicate sunshine. They only need to be used for around an hour a day, preferably in the morning, and have been proven to help the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

3 Have your vitamin D levels checked

A recent survey in the UK showed that more than half of adults in the UK did not have enough Vitamin D. Symptoms of a mild deficiency include general tiredness, vague aches and pains and a general sense of not being well. A simple blood test can determine your level of vitamin D. If it is low, your doctor can prescribe the vitamin in higher levels than over the counter tablets. Vitamin D levels take a while to build back up, but you should start to feel an improvement in a couple of weeks.

4 Take some exercise

In winter we tend to get out and about less and this can result in lethargy and weight gain. Exercise is a key tool to beat the winter blues. It improves our health and well-being overall and can have a significant effect on our mood. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins which trigger positive feelings and can help reduce depression and anxiety. If you can exercise outdoors, all the better as you will benefits from that extra sunlight, too.

5 Beat the winter blues by embracing all that’s good about winter

There’s lots to like about winter. It can be a cosy time to spend indoors with family. We can enjoy nice seasonal food such as roasts, casseroles and fruit crumbles and indulge in hot chocolate with whipped cream. We can light candles, wood fires and snuggle up indoors. Or we can wrap ourselves up in winter scarves and hats and enjoy the bracing air of a winter walk.

Write a list of your favourite winter activities and try to do something every day to beat the winter blues and make you feel good about the colder months.