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Wash Away the Winter Blues

Now that winter is here yet again, it’s time to revisit our top 10 tips for holding on to the those warm and fuzzy feelings.

Written by Georgie Proud

Winter can be tough, the days are shorter and all you want to do is hibernate. But along with those cosy quilts and cups of tea the winter blues can set in, making you feel down and taking away your motivation. So here’s some handy tips to help you get through the rest of winter.

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Looking after yourself is really important, but it’s so easy to get caught up with everything that’s happening in your life that you forget to do it. Looking after yourself  in this way is called self care, it can be something as simple as getting enough sleep or taking time to watch your favourite TV show. It really depends on what your interests are and what makes you happy, but we’ve got a few ideas that might help you find the best way to look after yourself. So if you’re feeling blue here’s a list of 10 things to do that might lift your mood:

1. Go for a walk

Exercise releases endorphins, a natural chemical that makes you feel good, in to your brain. It can be hard to find the motivation to exercise in winter, especially when it’s dark outside, but even a short walk can be invigorating. Plus it gives you a break from whatever else is going on, and some screen free time. Just put on something warm and go for a wander, you might be surprised how good you feel afterwards.

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2. Bake something delicious

Baking is great, it gives you some time out from your normal routine AND you get to eat something delicious afterwards. If you’re looking for a delicious but healthy snack check out the recipe for these Bliss Balls. Otherwise try the delicious milk and white chocolate cookies in the video below! If you’re not great a baking, or you’ve never done it before why not try a packet mix from the supermarket? All the ingredients are measured out for you so all you have to do is mix them together. You don’t need to be a masterchef, just have a go!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsUzi4x9m-E[/youtube]

3. Colour In

This might sound strange but colouring books are coming back in a big way, and no they’re not just for kids.  Colouring is super calming, it’s a great way to get rid of stress and focus on something totally different for a while. There are a whole lot of colouring books for adults you can buy online or in your local bookstore. Otherwise you can DIY, check out these colouring pages for adults you can download and print yourself and compile into a book. If you’re feeling super crafty why not draw your own images? You could even do it with a friend and then swap books at the end.

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4. Meditate

Meditation is a great way to get away from the stress of your everyday life. It gives you a space to step back and reflect on the things going on around you and put them into perspective. Mindfulness meditation gets you to focus on the present, drawing attention to your body and senses and what’s going on at that exact point in time without worrying about anything else. It’s great if you’re feeling stressed and you’ll feel super good afterwards. Smiling Mind have a great range of mindfulness meditations made especially for young people, just download the app and away you go!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdpqT67l8yQ[/youtube]

5. Have a bath

Seriously baths are the best. Set aside an hour to soak in the tub with a cup of tea and your favourite book. This is guaranteed to make you feel calm , relaxed and forget your worries. Try making these vanilla bath salts for a super luxurious dip.

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6. Catch up with friends

This might seem like a no-brainer but it can be really easy in winter to avoid leaving the warm comfort of your bed and lose out on social interaction. You may not even realise you’re doing it. So why not take upon yourself to organise a catch up? Whether it’s going to the movies, hanging out at your house or just catching up for a coffee (or hot chocolate). Sometimes all it takes is little time with your friends to remember how great things really are.

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Photo: Breeana Dunbar

7. Try Knitting

Guess what? Not only is knitting a whole lotta fun, it’s also a form of mindfulness. So if you’re not into meditation why not try knitting instead? It’s really easy once you get the hang of it. There are heaps of knitting tutorials online so all you need is some yarn and knitting needles. There are heaps of cool free patterns on sites like ravelry or you can buy beginner’s knitting kits that have everything you need delivered to your door. Or just ask your grandma if she has any old wool and knitting needles lying around that you can have.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONVQCK_-rKc[/youtube]

8. Watch a silly movie

If you’re feeling down you might be tempted to binge watch super sad movies in bed all day, but why not switch it up? It’s amazing how much a cheesy movie can lift your mood. I highly recommend Big Hero 6, Toy Story 3 and if you feel like venturing out Inside Out.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Cn1pYnAZSE[/youtube]

9. Take a yoga class

If you’ve never tried yoga it can be hard to believe people who tell you how good it makes them feel, but seriously it can make you feel great. It’s got just the right combo of stretching, exercise and relaxation that makes you feel like you’re walking around in a dream. If you can’t get to a class why not just do one in your room, there are heaps of great videos online that will teach you the basics – all without leaving the house. It’s also a great way to try before you buy if you’re not sure yoga is right for you.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7AYKMP6rOE[/youtube]

10. Cuddle a creature

Find a small animal and give it a hug, it’s guaranteed instant happiness. Studies have shown that interaction with animals can reduce stress and even help fight depression, pretty amazing. If you don’t own a dog/cat/bunny/guinea pig why not head down to your local pet shelter and give some neglected puppies and kittens the attention they need. Or if you live in Melbourne why not head down to the Cat Cafe and enjoy a coffee and a cuddle?

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If you’re really struggling to cope then there could be something a bit more serious going on than just winter hibernation. You may be experiencing depression or another mental health issue. Mental health issues are really common, 1 in 4 people aged 14-25 will experience a mental health issue at some point.

If you think you, or someone you know, is experiencing mental health issues you should talk to an adult you trust about it like a parent, teacher or school counsellor. If you don’t want to tell someone you know about it try going to your GP, local community health centre or find your nearest headspace centre. You can also call beyond blue or get online counselling at eheadspace. (These services are all confidential)

Click here to read more about Mental Health.

Georgie Proud Headshot 2015Georgie Proud
Georgie is one of the co-founders of Rosie. She is passionate about social justice issues and feminism. She lives in Melbourne with a dog called Murphy and a cat called Worms. Georgie loves music, travelling and getting crafty.

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