No no no November.  Feeling SAD!

November is here!  The clocks have gone back an hour, and like clockwork we’re all complaining about how dark the evenings are now.  They are very dark.  And while many of us are feeling the urge to roll up into a duvet burrito and hibernate, unfortunately work, school and college have other ideas.  Pfft.  Whatever.

If you’re longing for long Summer days, and temperatures in the double digits this one is for you.  What can we do to feel a bit better, a bit more human at this time of the year?  How can we get through the Winter?

We have a few ideas:

1.   Get into a good sleeping routine.  A sleep-in at the weekend is great, but don’t sleep until sunset.  Daylight is important for your health, so get as much as you can.  Sunlight increases serotonin, one of the happy hormones.  It’s good for your mental health. 

2.   Take up a new hobby.  Your mind can relax when your hands are busy.  Seeing as it’s winter maybe knitting or crocheting would be worthwhile to pick up.  It’s not too hard to get a hang of the basics, and there’s lots of help online.  Aim for Donegal’s longest scarf to keep you going until spring.  And at the end of it you’ll have a one of a kind totally unique piece.

3.   Eat nutritious foods.  Those pumpkins and turnips aren’t just for carving you know.  You can make delicious and nutritious mash, soups and stews out of them.  There are lots of easy and affordable warming soups you can make that will last a few days.  Which means you can spend more time in your duvet burrito.  Eating well is also great for both your mental and physical health.

4.   Treat yourself!  That’s right.  Treat yourself to a few little luxuries that will help you get through the next few months.  A nice hand cream can really make a big difference as the cold weather is harsh on your hands.  Get a pair of comfy slippers you can change into the moment you get home so you have something to look forward to.  Think of something that would make a big difference to your day, maybe a fabulous onesie, some hot chocolate.

5.   Stay social!  We know it’s not always easy to drag yourself out of the house when it’s dark and it’s lashing, but keeping up with your social life as much as possible is really important too.  Make plans to meet up with friends so you have something to look forward to.  You could make some Christmas crafts by the fire, make an Afternoon Tea, or just binge watch a show together. 

6.   Get some regular exercise.  If you’re out and about make sure you have a hi-vis and can be seen.  Going for a brisk walk is a great way to warm up and unwind after a long day.

7.   Join a group, or volunteer.  It’s a great way to meet new people, get into a routine and learn stuff in a fun way.  There lots on at Donegal Youth Service throughout the Winter.

A media group, LGBTI* support, Tea & Tunes, a peer mentoring group, public speaking and discussion group, youth clubs, an intercultural group and lots more. 

And finally remember Spring is on the way, no matter how long the Winter is.  You’ve got this.

Donegal Youth Service are here for you, so call into us for some one-to-one support, see what groups or projects you can get involved with, or have some tea in the drop-in.  We’ve got heating and a kettle! If you are having a hard time go to your GP. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a very real thing. 

Donegal Youth Service is a vibrant and contemporary organisation meeting the needs of young people countywide.  For more information about any projects or groups visit call 074 91 29630, pop in to 16-18 Port Road or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

This interview was originally published in November 2018 in The Leader.  Donegal Youth Service have a column in each issue – available bi-weekly on a Thursday.  Pick up a copy today!  Available countywide.



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