5 Top Tips for Staying Happy and Healthy this Winter

This is the first Winter in many, many, many that I haven’t run away somewhere warm.  Truth be told, I am dreading it. I can be pretty glum at the best of times, so I can only imagine what a radiant bundle of joy I will be to work with at home when the daylight hours go below the recommended 5-a-day.

Fortunately, I have some fail-safe tactics to ward off the winter blues and keep my pecker up, so I can skip merrily into Spring.

Tip 1: Get lots of exercise  

Round 2 of neighbourhood flyering will begin in earnest next week for beneighbourly.com.  One of my best friends has bought me some insanely fluffy fingerless mittens for the task. I will wage war on those snappy, bitey, frozen letterboxes and my hands below the knuckles will be resplendently toasty in leopardprint and bunny-fluff. Apparently, exercise helps to stave off depression. It remains to be seen if it can stave off rabid anger as you repeatedly flay the skin off your fingertips, one letterbox at a time.  I’ll keep you posted.  Hahahaha.

Tip 2: Get a light box

If you are SAD (and you have to be very sad for it to reach capitals stage, not just a little bit lowercase sad), then you’re supposed to get a special light box that mimics the effects of natural sunlight. Well, in our flat, the circuitry is so bad that it’s nigh-on impossible to get more than one halogen spotlight to work at any one time. It’s like they play tag team. So you basically have to position yourself underneath the one that’s working. Which makes it tricky to put on your make-up if the only one that works is the one over the cooker.

I can’t afford a SAD light, but I do have an extra bright halogen floor-standing lamp. I plan to stare directly at this for several minutes at a time, each time I feel a bit down. I will know it’s worked when my depression is replaced by a searing pain in my retina.

Tip 3: Get lots of nutrients

You’ve got to look after your health in the cold months. Helpfully, the fact that I rarely leave the house and am seldom in the company of other folk means I’m far less likely to catch their manky germs. Social isolation and loneliness is another matter, but those relentless sniffles that plague the average commuter no longer touch me. Plus, we eat a lot of soup in our household. Nevermind my sister’s insistence that soup bears no resemblance to a proper meal. It’s cheap, filling and if you liberally sprinkle in some temazepam, it keeps The Mack nicely contained all day. Our current fave is chicken carcass and lentil. Delicious And Nutritious.

Tip 4: Have plenty to look forward to

Man this is so important. You need at least one thing a week to look forward to. And for me, it needs to involve getting dressed in something other than my house sweatpants and socialising with someone (anyone) other than The Mack. You can’t just rely on Christmas and New Year either. That sort of cheer will only really last until your New Year’s hangover wears off. So sometime around the 7th of Jan you’ll need another pick-me-up. And you basically need to fill February to the brim with fun stuff. It’s unfailingly grim. I’m sure they deliberately made it the short month because it’s intolerable.

Tip 5: Hide

If it really gets too much then just hide. Stockpile some tinned peaches (great for bellinis) and long-life milk and just don’t bother getting out from under the duvet until you’re absolutely sure it’s Spring. And even then I’d suggest waiting till May. April has a habit of throwing snowballs. Sod being stoical about the Great British weather.  If it’s shitting diagonal sleet out there, then what on earth is the ruddy point? For the sake of the three crisp, bright days you might get, I say screw it.  Hibernate. Burrow. Get a onesie if you like. I won’t judge you – whatever gets you through these dark days. If you time your reawakening right, you might just get hailed as the Messiah. Which could be a bonus.

Oh.  And whatever you do, stay away from people who are going abroad somewhere hot. They are the worst, most turgidly smugawful bores and should be avoided like the plague.  Take it from someone who was one.

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