So at this time of the year in Winter when the mornings are dark, the days are short and the temperature plummets it’s not unusual for people to start feeling the bite of sadness. That relentless longing for the summer that seems almost forgotten sets in and it’s not uncommon for people to suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), more commonly known as the ‘Winter Blues’.
This is mainly caused by lack of exposure to light and fluctuations of melatonin in the body which is the hormone that causes sleep, so essentially we just feel less awake and more lethargic. In turn we probably become less active than we are in summer, engaging in fewer social activities and finding ourselves with less time to so because of the shorter days. So in order to make the most of the Winter and not wish it away so readily I’d like to share activities that are inexpensive and may shed a new light on those dark winter days.
1. Visiting Nature Reserves and Walking.
I love walking and visiting the same places that I would in Summer but in the Winter, it’s fascinating observing a landscape in the harshness of Winter and if you go to the right places there’s still plenty to see. I would recommend anything that is run by Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) the RSPB, The Forestry Commission, The National Trust or RHS. If you become members to any of groups you will get unlimited free entry across the UK for the whole year meaning you could go back every day if you wanted and you also get tonnes of info and newsletter with upcoming seasonal events local to you.
These places also give you amateur photography skills good practice. plenty of Instagram material.
I actually really enjoy Winter and the frosty crisp air and the landscape looks so fresh and pure when everything is still and frozen.
Plus who doesn’t love feeding the birds… And places aren’t as busy this time of year giving you the chance to really enjoy your day at a leisurely pace. Plus Winter clothes are so cute.
2. Visiting Historic Houses and Museums
There are lots of houses that are owned by The Historic Houses Association and National Trust and in the Winter they’re often much cheaper than in the summer. Although I would check for opening times and any restoration work going on to avoid disappointment. However they offer the perfect solution for a rainy day activity indoors, most of these places will have lovely cafés and places to eat if you want to make a day of it. You can’t beat a lovely warm tea or coffee and hot bowl of soup after a Winter stroll!
Some shots of Bleheim Palace from late Autumn, also where they shot some of Spectre (right).
Although these are shots from Autumn I had to include the one of the left especially as it’s so beautiful and probably the best photo I’ve ever taken. This is Stourhead in Wiltshire one of the best National Trust sites and I’d highly recommend a visit. The house itself is stunning.
Try to embrace all weathers and just have fun, invest in some wet weather gear it’s totally worth it..
Powis Castle, Welshpool, in the pouring rain.
3. Coffee Shops and a Good Book
Just getting outside in the Winter can boost your mood and going to a place where there’s people but the atmosphere is relaxed can sometimes be exactly what you need. Reading really helps me disconnect from reality and feel grounded. I’m currently reading ‘A Wild Sheep Chase’ by Haurki Murakami, my favourite author. If you’ve never read one of his books I’d seriously recommend it. He writes novels and collections of short stories, the plots are generally based on alternative realities and strange occurrences. He really connects with the reader on an emotional level that is totally unique to any other author I’ve encountered.
Hot drinks were made for Winter too and I love trying different teas and coffees and you don’t have to break the bank! It’s also a good place to catch up with a friend if you have a short amount of time or if you fancy it you can go it alone and nobody will look twice.
There we have it three simple ways to thaw those Winter Blues, just getting out and about and switching up the scenery will boost your mood. Learning to embrace Winter and appreciate it as a season that is for recovery getting ready to regenerate in Spring allows you to enjoy life, and not feel so down about that cold chill in the air. It might even be the perfect time to get back into an indoor hobby such as painting, craft or even the occasional game of Scrabble.. Especially if you’re competitive like me!
Thanks for reading, come back next Sunday evening for more!