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How to beat the winter blues

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Short days, freezing temperature drops, rainy weather, the dreaded lurgey constantly hanging around the corner waiting to give you colds, coughs and the flu…

Yep – even the most optimistic people may catch a bout of the winter blues, but now’s the time to fight the urge to curl into a ball on the couch and hibernate until wintertime. We’ve come up with some ideas to keep you entertained, occupied and thinking happy warm thoughts throughout the coldest season of the year.

  1. Take up a new (indoor) hobby
    Kiwis have the reputation of being generally outdoorsy people, so sometimes we get a little stumped when it comes to entertaining ourselves indoors for long periods of time. Make a list of the hobbies you think would be interesting and take up something you can do inside. Learn a new language, take up photography, learn a new musical instrument or start blogging.
  2. Get some exercise happening
    Doing some kind of physical activity releases endorphins (happy hormones) which will literally lift your mood, so try to get your muscles moving for at least 30 mins every day. Winter time often brings an onset of allergies to the gym, but remember that the gym is indoors! Getting there is the biggest part of the problem. If you’re not a gym member, get some cheesy exercise DVDs to start up your own lounge exercise class or bust out the Wii fit.
  3. Learn some new healthy recipes
    Make cooking new recipes your new hobby. The average household rotates around just 7-10 recipes and rarely introduces new ones into the mix! Explore your inner Masterchef – ask your mum, search online, trawl through food magazines and pore over some recipe books to see if you can swap out all your usual recipes.
  4. Go with the winter flow and roadtest a winter activity!
    Put on all your warm woollies and make friends with wintertime. Take some lessons in ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, or get some hot new waterproof running gear and hit the footpaths for a rain run (as long as you dress appropriately and have a nice hot shower when you get back, you should be able to fight off the sickness!).
  5. Practice your social skills
    There’s nothing like surrounding yourself with family and friends to take your focus off the gloomy weather. Invite everyone round for a themed night and practice some of those recipes you taught yourself back in step 3 (or if your cooking skills have proved to be somewhat lacking, make everyone else bring the food and make it pot luck šŸ™‚ ). Board games and charades as cheesy as they may be make for a good get together, otherwise just stick to themed food. For a Mexican example, you can have guacamole, salsa and corn chips for finger foods, burritos for dinner, margaritas for drinks and vanilla ice cream with grated lime zest for dessert! Nom nom.
  6. The power of positive thinking
    It’s easy to feel down when you’re restricted by your daylight hours and the weather. If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, try and turn them around to positives – even if it feels forced at first, it will get easier and feel more natural the more you practice. If you feel winter is getting you down, think about what you can do to feel better.

Image / Flickr – APatterson

Article brought to you by NZ Real Health

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