How to boost your mood as the nights draw in

Posted on

The nights are drawing in and it can affect our mood. If you’re suffering from the winter blues, there are some things you can do to improve your outlook.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), sometimes known as winter depression, is a type of depression that comes and goes with a seasonal pattern. It’s usually linked to the darker days of winter. Symptoms include feeling lethargic, sleeping for longer and craving carbohydrates. Even if you’re not affected by SAD, it’s common to experience these symptoms more during the colder months.

This year, winter is set to be even tougher. Lockdown and social distancing means some of the activities we’d usually do to lift our mood are no longer possible. A quarter of the general population says lockdown measures have left them feeling lonely and isolated, according to LV=.

Creating a plan to improve your mood this winter can help you head into 2021 with a positive outlook even if lockdown persists. Be sure to include these areas in your plan.

1. Eat a healthy diet

Winter can lead to us reaching for unhealthy, stodgy food. While comforting, foods that are high in fat, carbs and sugar can leave us feeling worse once our blood sugar levels drop. They might provide an energy boost at first, but in the long run they can lead to you feeling more tired and irritable.

Instead, make sure your meals and snacks include vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Picking food that’s packed with vitamins, minerals and proteins can restore energy levels for longer.

2. Make sure you get some sun

It might be cold but plan some time outdoors to increase sun exposure. Even ten minutes a day can help you feel better. It’s thought that exposure to sunlight increases the release of a hormone called serotonin, associated with feeling calmer and boosting your mood. A few minutes in the garden can give you a sunnier disposition.

Sun exposure is also linked to vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D can leave you feeling tired, worsening the effect of the winter blues. Stepping outside and vitamin D-rich food, such as fatty fish, egg yolks, and some mushrooms, can help.

When you can’t get outdoors, one tech option is light therapy. These lights, which come in a variety of designs including desk lamps, give off a very bright light. It’s thought that by mimicking the sunlight, they can also encourage the production of serotonin.

3. Boost endorphins with exercise

Getting your heart pumping releases the feel-good hormone endorphins. These hormones are linked to relieving stress and pain, and even produce a feeling of euphoria.

Making exercise part of your everyday routine throughout the winter months can help you beat the winter blues and ensure you stay healthy too. What’s not to like? Find an exercise that you enjoy doing, whether that’s going for a run, taking an online Zumba class or getting on a bike.

If you can get outdoors to exercise, even better!

4. Keep track of your sleep

Winter can mean we spend more time in bed, but are you getting a good night’s sleep? If you’re feeling tired and lethargic throughout the day, keeping track of your sleeping pattern can help.

Ideally, you should get around eight hours of sleep a night. If you struggle to fall asleep or are restless during the night, creating a routine that lets your body know it’s time to sleep can help. Switching off screens and doing something that helps you to relax before bed can mean you drift off quicker. You should also think about your bedroom and creating a space where you switch off and unwind.

5. Make time for friends and family

Planning time with family and friends has never been more important. With social distancing restrictions, the chances of bumping into someone or having a quick catch up while out are far lower. But social activities are essential for improving our mood.

So, proactively make time for those you enjoy spending time with. Heading to a park or other open space, in line with social distancing rules, or even planning a digital get together, might not be your usual routine but it can help you remain connected until things get back to normal.

6. Give meditation a try

The LV= research found that more people are feeling anxious and stressed.  Four in ten said they worry about the pandemic and fear a second wave of Covid-19. With both health and economic concerns weighing on peoples’ mind, it’s not surprising that some may be feeling anxious about the future.

Trying relaxation and meditation exercises can help you focus and feel calmer. Even ten minutes in the morning can improve your mood for the rest of the day. There are plenty of different techniques to try, so find one that suits you.

7. Plan indoor activities

When we’re stuck indoors, it’s easy to slump in front of the TV with a boxset. But, while fine at times, it’s a routine that can harm your mental health if you don’t mix it up with other activities.

Try planning days at home as you would plan for a day out. Think of activities that get your brain working and mean you step away from the screen for a while. From a good book to trying your hand at a new craft, there are plenty of options. If you want to get your family involved, board games and cards a great way to pass the time.


We aim to keep our clients up to date on interesting and relevant financial news.

You can sign-up to receive our monthly newsletter by email, even if you’re not yet a client. Sign-up using the form below.

Client testimonials

I have always found Black Swan to be caring and understanding of my quirky lifestyle. I always feel they try to get me the best returns while respecting my current needs.

Sally Muir

A client since 2011

We would be very happy to recommend the support and service we receive.

Valerie Locks

A client since 2010

I have always been completely useless regarding finance - thankfully our financial adviser is not! I've retired with far more than I ever expected and investments continue to grow safely. So - thank you!

Bernadette Jane Warner

A client since 2000

Very happy with the professional service I have received and feel a lot happier now with my finances put in order.

Martin Field

A client since 2011

Julie Cooper was recommended to me by a work colleague. She has been very helpful, professional and has explained everything well. I would definitely recommend her services to anyone else who are interested in a financial review.

Steven Rooke

A client since 2018

…Service has been first class.

Hugh Fells

A client since 2012

My face to face meetings with Rob Young and Jessica Lyons have always been very open and understandable. My questions have been answered clearly and I have left feeling that my financial matters are in good hands.

Sandra Jack

A client since 2000

[A] safe pair of hands in a complex financial world.

Gary Middlehurst

A client since 2003

A reliable company with good communication skills and good knowledge of the financial markets.

Alan Evetts

A client since 2014

Maureen Pembridge is a long-time trusted advisor to our family. The market might fluctuate but her attention to detail is consistent.

Linda Burnard

A client since 2000

I am pleased to recommend Julie as a trustworthy financial advisor. She explains financial jargon in plain language, and always listens carefully to my particular financial needs and has helped me make the best of my savings.

Carolann Samuels

A client since 2010

I have always been satisfied with the way that Black Swan has handled my account. And I have always found the staff very helpful whenever I need to call the office.

Robert Anthony Matthews

A client since 2012

An excellent personal service from a person I know and trust.

Michael Dalton

A client since 2010

I am getting a very good services from Black Swan, they have got my investments sorted out which was in a bit of a mess.

Roy Jakens

A client since 2012

A good, efficient team providing clear ideas to shape a winning strategy.

Adrian Michael Levenstein

A client since 2011

Black Swan is a company to be trusted, with friendly staff and professional advisors.

David Brian Jennings

A client since 2017

I have been with Black Swan for many years. I have never wished to change anything. They give a good straight forward service.

Martin Barrett Brooks

A client since 2010

Andy Peters has been invaluable in firstly combining several pension pots and then giving excellent investment advice. It has given us a great deal of comfort to know that our financial affairs are in such good hands.

James Guillum Scott

A client since 2014

I find my financial advisor easy to talk to and feel that she understands my lifestyle. She is always available for help when I need her and explains in words that I can understand.

Margaret Ena Glasgow

A client since 2000

Andy is a first rate Director, excellent communicator and leader.

Ross Perry

A client since

Black Swan Financial Planning and Andrew in particular, are very clever at working out how risk averse we are, and coming up with solutions that we feel comfortable with. We are happy in the knowledge that we can continue to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Andrew Peters is a very, very friendly person who is great to chat to and easy to deal with. He explains things very clearly in layman’s terms, and if we still don’t understand, he explains it until we do!

Alan & Jane Dyer

Clients since 2012

We have always found Rob [Young] to be very approachable and knowledgeable. We have every confidence in the advice given and feel comfortable with the decisions we’ve made. There are certain opportunities that we wouldn’t have known about if Rob hadn’t brought them to light, which makes the advice good value for money as far as we’re concerned.

Peter & Pauline O’Halloran

Clients since 2013

Rob [Young] is extremely knowledgeable. I knew nothing about the different types of trusts which will not only secure my income in retirement, but also leave a legacy for my children. I’m glad that I sought his advice when I did.

Sarah Wilson

A client since 2015

I am extremely happy with the service afforded to me by the company and my adviser Julie Cooper.

Geoff Coxell

A client since 2010

My wife and myself have been dealing with Black Swan for a number of years. We have met with different representatives from the company over the years and have found all very helpful in their own way. We met with James [Anderson] a few years ago and found him very helpful and knowledgeable. He keeps in contact with us on a regular basis. We find the Company information very helpful and we feel very secure with our finances.

Andrew Kirchen

A client since 2015

I have always found my adviser to be easy to contact, very professional in his approach, yet friendly and understanding. I have a sense of an experienced company behind him, really on the ball financially and with good standards.

B McBean

A client since 2011

Partner with the most reliable and experienced team of advisers

Enter your details & we'll be in touch to discuss your needs.
Alternatively, contact us directly and speak to a member of the team.

    Subscribe to our newsletter