FEELING GREAT: Tricks to banish the winter blues

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So “Blue Monday” has come and gone.

How was it for you?

As “bad” as they all say it is?

For me, well, I left Melbourne, Australia, in the clear blue skies and warm, bright sunshine on Saturday night, and landed back in the cold, wet and snowy blizzards of Hartlepool on Sunday – so it really was a blue Monday for me.

And what’s funny, I got the impression it was the bluest of all Mondays for my 14 office staff who have likely had such a nice time at work while their boss was away.

A fitting day for a boss to arrive back at work, don’t you think?

Anyhow, so what to do about it if you’re feeling a little less energetic and down because of the effect of the shorter days meaning less sunlight in your life tempting you to feel a little less than enthusiastic as you might, say, in summer time.

Well, firstly, recognise what is happening to you.

“Blue Monday” refers to the time of the year where ‘they’ say that you’re most likely to be affected by a lack of vitamin D, or in other words, sunlight.

You’ve likely, maybe even said it yourself, that you suffer from that “SAD” condition (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Truth is, most of us do too.

See, sunlight is the most common and easiest way of getting vitamin D which is essentially one of the feel good chemicals that fits nicely along side endorphins, the stuff that is released during and after a long walk, a run, or playing sport - and gives you that sugar high often lasting the entire day making you feel great.

Put the two together, exercising or running in the sun, and you’ve got a huge, almost addictive feel good “hit” that you want more of.

Easy to find in summer, a bit more difficult in winter.

Now, jumping on that return flight to Australia that I came back in on at the weekend is one way to get some of it, but it’s not strictly needed.

As there are other, little-known, ways to get a boost of Vitamin D and put an end to the ‘Blue Monday”, well, blues!

Starting with the foods that you eat: Oily Fish, liver, eggs and milk all have vitamin D that give you a boost, and even something as simple as brisk 15-20 minute walk on your dinner break each day when the bright winter days appear will also help.

One thing that really helps me in winter is this: whenever I know I need to make a few phone calls, I do them all on the move.

I put the numbers into my mobile phone, leave my desk and call all of the people who want to talk to me while I’m outside in the fresh air and importantly, in the sunlight, in the middle of the day.

That way, I’ve had a fix of the vitamin D that is going to make me feel more energetic.

Sure, it’s cold, but I just wrap up warm and make sure my phone’s got plenty of charge on it too.