Winter is a difficult time of year for many people. The combination of freezing cold weather, less sunlight, and the pressures of the holiday season can lead to low mood. The medical name for winter depression is seasonal affective disorder, and it typically begins in late autumn.
If you’re feeling down this winter, then you might find inspiration on how to feel better from a surprising source: your cat! If you’ve got a kitty of your own, then you’ve probably noticed how good they seem to have it. While you might not be able to spend all day curled up in front of the fire place, you can pick up lots of healthy, nurturing habits from your feline friend.
Get good quality sleep
Does your cat seem to sleep almost 24,47 during the winter months? While that’s not the best thing for you to do, getting enough rest in winter is important. The longer nights and shorter days in winter disrupt your natural sleep pattern, so you might find yourself feeling tired more than usual during the day. Get to bed at the same time each evening and spend some time relaxing in the evening to prepare yourself for sleep. Try to avoid staring at screens for too long, as these can trick your body into thinking it’s still time to be awake.
Making the most of the daylight that is available is important for regulating your sleep cycle, so get outside for some fresh air and sunlight when you can. If possible, try to get up at sunrise; the natural light will indicate to your body that it’s time to wake u p. If your schedule won’t allow for that, consider investing in a dawn-simulating alarm clock that will gradually light up your bedroom in the morning, helping you to wake naturally and feel more energized.
Make yourself comfortable
Your cat’s not the only one who deserves to be cozy by the fire. Creating a warm, welcoming space to relax in can be quite effective in reducing winter stress. Invest in a few new cushions and blankets to keep yourself cozy, and purchase a candle with a festive scent. Plan relaxing activities for the evening, like reading a book, knitting or taking a bath. Taking the time to relax gives you a chance to recharge, meaning you’ll be able to deal with whatever winter throws at you.
Don’t forget to exercise
When your furry friend isn’t napping or eating, there’s a good chance he’s outside exploring. Getting enough exercise is essential in winter and has numerous positive benefits. Regular physical activity is shown to boost your mood, reduce your risk of diseases, and control weight gain.
Going for a walk in a natural environment is a great choice, as you’ll be getting plenty of sunlight and fresh air. Being close to nature can be calming, and often helps put the stresses of everyday life into perspective. If you don’t live close to a natural area, or it’s too cold to go outside, then try swimming, yoga, or weight training. Just five minutes of exercise is better than nothing so set small, achievable goals to begin with. Even playing with your cat around the house can give you a workout, especially if you’ve got a kitten.
Hang out with loved ones
Normally independent cats often become uncharacteristically friendly in winter. You might find that the typically aloof Fluffy is suddenly desperate to sit on your lap. She has the right idea. Having a strong social support system in place is important when tackling winter depression. Spending time with friends and family can take your mind off worn’ es and give you a chance to talk through any problems that are causing you stress. If you’re not feeling sociable, even watching a film or cooking a meal with an understanding loved one can be a great mood-boosting activity.
Limit the treats
You wouldn’t empty your cat’s entire bag of treats into his bowl just because it’s Christmas, would you? No, and you shouldn’t do the same for yourself. While a few treats are fine during the festive season, making an effort to cook and eat healthy meals will likely make you feel much better. Trying out new recipes can be fun, and warm homemade soups and stews are often much healthier than junk food takeaways Create a meal plan you can stick to during winter, but be realistic so that you don’t get disheartened. The odd mince pie or ready meal is fine. You wouldn’t ask Mr. Whiskers to give up all his treats, after all.
Beat the winter blues by embracing your inner cat this year. Soon you’ll be wishing the season could last even longer.