Self / 23.01.2015

10 life hacks for a happier winter

By Roisin Dervish-O'Kane
Fight against winter misery with simple solutions no woman should be without


Blue Mondays, grey Tuesdays, soggy Wednesdays: January is giving our spirits a bit of a battering. Fight back and #BeatTheBlues with advice from Healthy‘s agony aunt.

Dark, soggy and ripe for feeling a bit glum; we’re on a mission to make the British mid-winter that little bit brighter. That’s why we enlisted the expert help of our agony aunt – the trained psychotherapist and broadcaster Lucy Beresford and took to Twitter to answer your questions on January’s infamous Blue Monday.

From how to stop getting grumpy on Sunday nights, to what nibbles will help keep you chipper all through the afternoon, Lucy dished out a load of life-improving advice using #BeatTheBlues. Here are the top ten life hacks we reckon should be in the arsenal of every woman hoping to stay energised and upbeat in winter. Here’s hoping they brighten your January – and beyond.

To start the day like a superwoman

‘Create a mini playlist of jumping tracks to come on as you wake – bet you won’t stay in bed for long! Then swap sugary cereals for porridge. Oats give you energy on a slower release than sugars, plus walnuts and brazil nuts give a good mood boost; great for feeling energetic.’

To feel in control

‘Write down things you have to do; break them down into bite-size chunks and tick off each sub-task for sense of achievement. Make your ‘To-Do-Lists’ manageable – you can always up the levels later when it gets easy-peasy. And remember to reward yourself for each task.’

To find the motivation to exercise

‘Eat a banana, some cherries or blueberries ahead of time for energy and find a great soundtrack to play to get you in the mood. Fitness begins with finding the will to start exercising.’

To stop beating yourself up

‘Write down all your skills and achievements to see them in black and white. Focus on your successes and more will come your way.’

Read more: How to accept yourself

To eat a healthy lunch on the cheap

‘Avocados, spritzed with lime, plus oatcakes and a carrot (cheaper than juice at Pret!) are perfect lunch ideas for days when you forgot to pack your lunchbox. Avocados contain folate, also thought to aid irritability (useful if you’ve got a day of stressful meetings!)’

Read more: How to pack a lunchbox full of goodness

To beat the 3pm slump

‘Move! A change of scene really helps. Climb the stairs at work, or do some stretching in a different room to help you feel energised after that dreaded afternoon dip. Or if the weather’s not too awful, go for a quick walk around the block.’

To be social on a budget

‘Arrange things for free with friends: video nights, playing cards or charades – seriously! It’s hysterical.’

To beat comfort eating

‘If you’re eating for the sake of it, try to plan ahead and fill your cupboards and fridge with only good food. And begin a mood diary to keep track of when you are most likely to comfort eat – especially at times of sadness or anxiety.’

To not feel burnt out by your commute

‘Get off the bus or train a stop or two early. Taking mini walks stimulates feel-good hormones and losing yourself in your head will help to improve your mood after a long day of work and travel. Spot unusual things, like purple cars or coats, listen to music or learn a poem by heart.’

Read more: How to turn your walk into a fat-burning workout

To stop the ‘Sunday feeling’ ruining your weekend

‘Either you’re dreading work on Monday or your Sundays aren’t fulfilling enough. Plan activities to absorb and refresh you! Satisfy your sweet tooth with a small bowl of natural yoghurt and banana, too – both are proven mood-boosters.’

Do you have any fail-safe ways to beat the winter blues? Tweet and tell us @healthymag. Go on, it’s nice to share!

10 life hacks for a happier winter
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10 life hacks for a happier winter
Here are 10 January Blues-busting life hacks that every woman should know, from Healthy's agony aunt Lucy Beresford
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