Autumn is here, the days are getting shorter, and it’s not long until the clocks go back - and while we might welcome that extra hour in bed, the trade-off is that for the next six long, cold months, we get less daylight.
The days are shorter, the nights seem darker, and it all just feels quite gloomy.
Unsurprisingly, kissing goodbye to long summer days, with the prospect of none again for ages, can have a profound effect on our mood.
Struggling to get out of bed while it’s still dark outside, leaving work to find it’s basically night time, cramming our faces full of comfort food just to make ourselves feel better - are part of the winter process for many.
So it’s no wonder the majority of the population feel a bit pessimistic. However, online light retailers Scotlight Direct ran a survey of 3,000 people across the UK, to find out if their mood gets gloomier as winter approaches, and found some surprising results.
Nationwide, they found it was the most southern countries - England and Wales - who are the gloomiest. Despite having more daylight in winter than Scotland and Northern Ireland, they were actually more pessimistic about the season.
A total of 68.6% of Welsh people and 67% of English people were disgruntled by it, compared to only 66.6% of Scots and just 62.4% of Northern Irish.
The survey found that women feel a bit gloomier about winter than men; 67.8% compared to 65.9%.
When it came to the reasons why we might all feel gloomy about winter, over half of the UK as a whole said it’s because they don’t like leaving work in the dark. No more standing outside the pub feeling the last rays of sunshine, drinking a nice, cold beer - no, it’s straight back home for a warming cup of cocoa.
A total of 18.7% of us feel gloomy because we do less exercise. Meanwhile, 16.5% of us say it’s because we socialise less - going out seems less appealing when your cosy front room beckons, with its comfy sofa and central heating. While 14.5% of us feel bad because we eat less healthily. With freezing weather conditions outside, we’re less likely to choose a salad over a massive pie or slab of lasagne!
Andrew Fraser, MD at Scotlight Direct commented: “As winter approaches, it’s not surprising that people will start to miss the long hours of sunshine. However, a few simple steps can help ease your way into the shorter days and avoid the winter blues.”
Tops Tips to improve your mood going into winter:
1. Spend more time in the natural sunshine, in fact, spend as much time as possible in the natural daylight. If you are staying indoors, pull the curtains back and raise the blinds while its daylight. Get up early to make the most of the full day!
2. Exercise. Though many of us put off the idea, going for a run or hitting the gym will really help. Working out releases endorphins that will boost your positive energy.
3. Spend time with those you love and enjoy the company of. Spending a lot of time in your homes is too easy to do, but you should make plans to keep you out of the house for longer periods of time.
4. Brighten your home and add a touch of colour to your interiors. The brighter and more colourful you decorate, the better. Why don’t you look to change how your home looks before the winter draws in?
5. Improve your diet and sleeping patterns. Be good to your body and listen to what it wants and needs.
6. Get busy! That doesn’t mean at work, why not save some of your holidays for the winter and take a break in the sunshine while its cold and dark at home, or if you don’t want to travel just make lots of plans with friends.
7. A light box gives off the same effect as natural light and can be effective when combined with other types of treatments. Always speak to your doctor first before you use these.
8. Dawn simulators are a fantastic way to wake up in the morning. Rather than loud music and abrupt beeps to wake you up, this alarm clock slowly produces light that becomes more intense (like the sun), until it wakes you up.
9. Aromatherapy. Introduce essential oils into your home and evening bath to help you either relax on an evening or energise yourself for the day. Choose citrus based oils in particular to help lift your mood.
10. Get your lighting right! Good light can add warmth and personality to a room. Use lighting ‘layers’ rather than one main light in a room - place lamps on a variety of levels in a room to create an inviting home where you are happy to spend time relaxing on the longer winter evenings.