Tuesday, 8 January 2019

HOW TO BEAT JANUARY BLUES?


This is London. A no filter version of every day London during winter. When I first moved in the UK, I thought there's something weird happening in me. I guessed it's just a normal bout of homesickness since I'm away from my family. Later though, I found out that Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is real. SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. It is sometimes known as "winter depression" because the symptoms are usually more apparent and more severe during the winter (source: NHS).

"Symptoms of SAD can include a persistent low mood, loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities, irritability,  feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness, feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day,  sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning and craving carbohydrates and gaining weight." Now, that sounds really sad, right? Sorry have to let that out. So, how to beat the blues?

1. Acknowledge that it won't be summer all year long. I think that's what makes summer charming... we can't have her all the time. I realised I need to respect each season and find the beauty in it. Our ancestors have endured this and with the help of technology and other luxuries of today's era, we can definitely whisk past it too.

2. Make the most out of daylight (no matter how short it is). It's the first Saturday of January as I type this and I haven't left the flat the whole day. Not good. It has a spiral effect on me, the longer I stay in trying to avoid the cold, the more I want to cave in for as long as possible. I promise tomorrow that I'll go out no matter what. Vitamin D affects our happy hormones so it's important for us to breathe fresh air outside.

3. Get moving. Make it as non-thinkable as possible. Make it a routine, almost like a muscle memory as brushing your teeth. I also have a diary where I put a ticked box each time I completed my run. It's not the easiest thing to do especially if it's dark but let's focus on the positives. We have legs, we have the time and resource, all that's lacking is our will power and we can definitely handle that with the right mindset.

4. Plan ahead. I am always out and about during summer and I guess winter is a great time to compensate. This blog is a good example, you'll see a trend that during summer, my regular post is far from, well, regular. I want to make the most out of the great outdoors so during colder months, I try to front load my posts as much as I can. 

5. Cook hearty meals (like Pho and stews). Now that you have a luxury of time to spend indoors,  why not invest it to something that will go straight to your tummy (and ultimately your whole body)? I particularly like Vietnamese dishes like pad Thai and pho. Also, ragu recipe is such a versatile dish because you can pair it with quinoa, rice or even sourdough bread.

Let's hang in there, before we know it, it's summer time again. Meanwhile, let's up that HYGGE vibe! -CMK


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