If this winter feels full of woe with so many weather warnings, you’re not alone.
With strong winds whipping up more often than we care to remember, flood alerts and the Met Office issuing countless cautions, it feels like forever since the sun made us smile with the promise of springtime, milder temperatures and a sense of calm.
Naturally, we need to be cautious and tread carefully while the weather risks remain, but dreary days can be turned around by doing something positive.
Here’s how to cheer yourself up as we count down to brighter days ahead…
1. Get baking
Whether it’s the smell of freshly baked cakes, watching them cool down on the baking tray, getting excited about topping your sponge with chocolate icing, or the kids jostling around the kitchen table to lick the spoon, nothing triggers those happiness hormones like a slice of homemade cake.
2. Take time out for a home spa ritual
It’s funny how those body scrubs, face masks and moisture-boosting conditioning treatments you’ve been gifted or bought on a whim can gather dust and never see the light of day – until now.
Make the most of being holed up at home by pampering yourself with a home spa session. Even better, head to the bathroom mid-morning with a scented candle if you can, so it really feels like a well deserved break.
3. Sow seeds in a greenhouse or indoors
While it seems like we’re in the midst of the longest winter ever, especially with trees still bare and little sign of green shoots – apart from a few clusters of brave daffodils – now’s the perfect time to sow seeds. And boy will you be rewarded when those sweet peas come into bloom and quick growing perennials such as lupins start to stir. Cover with a propagator lid or polythene bag and plant outside when the frosts have passed. An added bonus, the kids will love getting involved.
4. Make some me-time with yoga on YouTube
We all know regular exercise can boost your mood, but sometimes it’s difficult to get motivated, especially if you’re stuck indoors. To help reduce anxiety and beat the blues and release those feel-good endorphins, set some time aside for a yoga or stretching class on YouTube.
Easy to follow and free, think yoga for beginners or a morning session to start your day, and the music and wellbeing benefits are tenfold. This is also a great pick-me-up if you’re on maternity leave and feeling a bit isolated from friends or work colleagues.
5. Get a head-start on spring cleaning
It’s not long before the clocks change (hurrah!). But with lighter, longer days comes the dirt and dust that’s been hiding under the sofa or sitting on the window sills, not to mention dirty windows, which have taken a beating from all the rain and wind. Make the most of a blustery afternoon by clearing the clutter, having a good clean or getting busy with the laundry – you might be surprised how tackling chores around the house can actually cheer you up. Fact.
6. Call a friend or relative
It’s an effort. Texts and email are so easy. But there’s nothing like hearing the voice of a loved one or best mate at the other end of the line. As the phrase goes, it’s good to talk – and doing something on the spur of the moment like picking up the phone can really change your day, and theirs. Even if it’s just to have a good old moan!
7. Watch your favourite movie or go through old photographs
Thinking back to why you loved that romantic comedy so much? Watching it over and over is a comfort in itself – so if it makes you feel happy, do it! (Did someone say duvet day?)
Similarly, when’s the last time you had a good look through all your old photo albums? It can be healthy to reminisce – according to research, a trip down memory lane can help relieve stress, decrease feelings of loneliness and even make you feel physically warmer (yes, really). Suffice to say, if it pulls on the heart strings, feelings of happiness and warmth radiate from within.