Surviving The Winter

Well, Winter is upon us once again. It seems to have been a long time coming this year as the warm/mild weather has stretched out into November. But suddenly with ferocity the sky seems to have opened and we are in the grip of floods. With global warming we were promised warm dry summers and cool wet winters and that is exactly what we have.

One of our listeners Jillie messaged in and asked us to do a podcast on surviving the winter. Thanks Jillie. Here are a few ideas.

There is a stark contrast between the world in the warmth of the summer and the cold of the winter. This is not just a matter of energy it is also a matter of weather. One of the main things that effects the way that we feel is the ionisation of the air around us. Each atom has an electrical charge on it. When the charge is negative then we feel bright and light and energised. When the charge is positive we feel flat, oppressed and out of steam. In the winter the air is often filled with positive irons that can make us feel negative. It is those days that are grey and over cast with the damp chill that reaches into your bones the air is filled with positive ions. When you are on a side of a mountain with clear blue sky’s watching the sun glint on the snow the air is filled with negative ions.

It seems mad and back to front but…

Positive ions make you feel bad
Negative ions make you feel good

The other effects of the lack of light are the inevitable drop in our level of Vitamin D, a drop in our level of serotonin that, normally, leads to feelings of down-ness often described as SAD syndrome. Sometimes I wonder why we bothered to move away from the equator where levels of vitamin D are high and SAD syndrome never heard of.

When it gets cold, damp and dark we seek comfort that through evolution has been carbohydrates. The best form of carbs is in cake, bread, pastas, puddings, biscuits, and so on. Carbs kick your brain into producing endorphins that make you feel good which is why they are called comfort foods.

Carbs = comfort

Take a holiday
Why do we take our main holiday in the summer? Would it not make more sense to enjoy the British summer, even if it is a bit wet, and then, when it is dark and cold, jump onto a plane and go somewhere hot and sunny. If we did that we would boost our Vitamin D and keep our mood raised up.

Another way to counteract the effect of the darkness is to move more. When it is cold the idea of huddling around a coal fire and staying in. Yet, if we make the effort to move our body we raise our mood. Twenty minutes of a raised heartbeat will make your brain secrete happy hormones and endorphins that will make you feel happier. The drive from the health authorities is to get everyone walking for at least half an hour a day. If we all did this we reduce our levels of illness, improve our mental health, loose some weight and get happier. Of course it goes with needing to say that it would also save the health authorities money.

Time to get social
Don’t be a hermit get out and meet people or invite people in. Socialise, have parties, cook meals and enjoy the company of others. Being with others, sharing the feeling of belonging and sharing fun and laughter all increase our levels of happiness.

Christmas and Stuffmas
Winter means Christmas and for most of us this means money and spending. Creating debts and financial stress is serious contributor to seasonal depression. The second part of Christmas can be that there is so much to organise and that can be stressful if we do not share the load and the responsibility. Maybe, if everyone who comes to Christmas dinner each cooked a course the pressures would be less all round.

Make love
Did you know that when we have particularly dark and cold winter that birth rates can rise by up to 18%. We do know that good positive love making does raise the endorphins and increases happiness. It also helps us to keep warm on a cold night.

Slow down and enjoy
Most of nature takes a break in the winter. The birds fly south, all of the plants go to sleep and many animals go into hibernation. The one species that does not slow down that carries on in a mad dash is (us) human beings.

For us winter could be our chance to rest and relax. A time to gather around log fires and get Hyyge. A time to enjoy the joy of story telling, socialisation, and developing family relationships and friendships. A time to mend nets, repair the tools, learn to sew and knit and chat about life and sharing experiences, to teach and learn. A time to enjoy winter foods, puddings, custard and cake.

The more I think about it the more I see why the Nordic countries developed their various versions of Hyyge to live enjoy and survive their winters.

Ba happy and do what you need to ensure you enjoy winter and make it a winter wonderland.

Take care

Sean x

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