There are many people for whom the onset of winter is a difficult time. With the poor weather and days getting shorter and darker, many people experience increased fatigue or even depression in the middle of winter.
The reasons for this aren’t fully understood, but the leading theory focuses on our melanin levels. Melatonin is the hormone that makes us feel drowsy, and our brains produce it most of the time. Bright sunlight suppresses our brain’s melatonin production, making us more alert, but the deeper into the winter we get, the less bright sunlight there is! Days are shorter and more overcast, so your daily melatonin levels spik and you feel drowsier. Some people simply find it harder to wake up in the morning, but for others this drowsiness can tip over into a recognised form of depression called SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder.
If you’re worried about the impact the winter will have on your mental health, it may help to ‘think like a Norwegian’. People in Nordic countries, facing even longer, darker winters than the UK, focus on the unique opportunities it brings – things you can only do in the winter. This shift in perspective can help you endure and even enjoy yourself until the spring comes and days lengthen again.
Long winter nights are the perfect opportunity to revive an interest in crafting skills – it’s a tradition going back generations. Whether you’re experimenting with a craft skill for the first time or reviving an interest you haven’t indulged in years, crafting can help pass the time during the winter, and the focus and repetitive actions can help you relax. Some people find it puts them in a meditative state resembling mindfulness! Even if you get that direct benefit to your mental health, working on your hands and making gifts for friends can be very satisfying and provide a boost to your mood.
If you’re interested in crafting this winter, but don’t have any of the tools, then don’t give up hope. Whether you need knitting needles and yarn or a weaving loom kit uk companies exist that can deliver everything you need for a project in a box directly to your door. It’s well worth looking into crafting subscriptions that can make sure you have fresh projects to work on all winter as you build your skills!
Walking in Winter
For many of us, winter is a time to retreat from the outside world: the weather is cold and worst of all, wet. Muddy conditions underfoot and heavy rain are a good reason to keep indoors. That can deepen your sense of seasonal malaise, however. If you prepare properly, get waterproof boots with good tread and a warm, waterproof coat you can continue to enjoy the fresh air, natural light and sights of nature that can lift your spirits, even when the winter weather is at its most unpleasant! Indeed, in managing to keep dry in a sudden downpour, or stopping to drink a flask of hot coffee on a cold day you get to enjoy some unique pleasures of a walk in the winter, even as you watch for the signs of spring.