Feeling down this Winter? Here’s how to beat the winter blues.

It’s easy to feel deflated this time of year. With shorter days, colder weather and darker evenings… the winter blues can be difficult. This can have a knock-on effect with energy, mood and motivation…

In our experience, a low mood often leads to poor eating habits. From reaching for a glass of wine to turning to comfort food as the next ‘pick me up’. For women over 40, this can become even more of a problem when it comes to losing weight.

It’s already more difficult for Women over 40 to lose weight. The physical and hormonal changes that come hand-in-hand with getting older and the menopause can lead to putting on excess weight – especially around the middle. When you add winter into the mix as well, it can be a challenging combination!

The good news? It doesn’t have to be this way.

With the right approach, it’s possible to thrive during the winter months… and to keep on living life to the fullest!

In our most recent podcast, we covered some simple strategies to help women over 40 this winter. We cover our top tips for boosting your mood and keeping your weight in control. Check them out!

Cause 1: Vitamin D and the winter blues

Without realising, most Britons have a vitamin D deficiency in the winter months because of the reduction in daylight. These depleting levels are linked to low mood and sometimes even depression…

Researchers suggests that low vitamin D may impact serotonin. This is the hormone which stabilises our mood, feelings of well-being and our happiness.

Vitamin D deficiency might also make menopause symptoms worse. For example, this vital nutrient helps the body absorb calcium, so keeping bones healthy is more difficult if you are deficient.

Essentially, we can’t make vitamin D without sufficient levels of sunlight. To get enough, we need to spend ten minutes in the sun with plenty of skin exposed. During colder months, most people tend to keep themselves covered… and so they don’t see the sun as much during the day!

For this reason, it’s important to supplement with Vitamin D during winter. Specifically, vitamin D3 is widely recommended. As an added bonus, this can also boost immune health!

Cause 2: Blaming things you can’t control

Your thoughts and beliefs have a huge impact on your mood.

For example, if you believe you’re always happy in winter… you will be! If you believe that staying in shape between November and February is impossible… this will likely become true as well.

What you tell yourself has a HUGE impact on your mood. If you say something to yourself enough times… you’ll actually start to believe it! This happens even if it wasn’t true in the first place.

On the other hand, if you believe you’ll get through winter successfully… it will become easier to do so. You’ll find the positives and make the most of your situation.

In our experience, the more blame you place on external factors… the more powerless you’ll feel. Whether you’re fed up with the weather, the dark or the time of year, you’ll ultimately have a bad experience.

It’s like putting yourself in a prison and giving the keys away to someone else. There’s no chance you’re getting out of this mindset until you decide you want to.

The solution is to take control of your mindset. Realise that you have the power to change the way you think. Discover what beliefs are currently holding you back… and ask yourself “what would I have to believe to succeed during winter?”

Start training yourself to think this way, rather than your previous limiting beliefs!

Cause 3: Inactivity

Being active is critical for a positive mindset.

In our experience, the clients who struggle with low mood spend more time being inactive. We have clients who used to walk to work or drop the kids off at school. Then in the Winter… they barely leave the house! They’re tied to their desk all day and struggle to do more than a few thousand steps.

Dr Andrew McCulloch, former CEO of the Mental Health Foundation, says: “There’s convincing evidence that 30 minutes of vigorous exercise three times a week is effective against depression. And [there’s] anecdotal evidence that lighter exercise will have a beneficial effect, too.”

“If you have a tendency towards SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), outdoor exercise will have a double benefit, because you’ll gain some daylight.”

The benefits of exercise are plentiful. From a reduction in anxiety to boosting your self-esteem… exercise takes your mind off stress.

At the end of the day, humans are meant to move. Yet, most of us are more sedentary than ever. This creates a vicious cycle of doing less and less. You end up feeling more sluggish and less motivated… until you’re doing nothing and feeling rubbish!

For a mood boost, you need to break this cycle. Get moving daily.

Just do what’s realistic and sustainable for you. Find something that can fit into your schedule really easily… it doesn’t have to be long or be brutally sweaty to be worth doing! From gym classes to walking with a friend at the weekend, there are plenty of options.

Some activities might not be the best for losing weight over 40. However, they’re certainly going to make you feel better about beating the winter blues.

If you’re looking for that extra nudge over winter, our Fit Over 40 programme might help. We implement strategies to help our clients see the results they deserve!

If you’re interested in how we can help you drop 2 dress sizes over the next 12 weeks, you can find out more about working with us here!