The nights are drawing in (in the Northern Hemisphere at least), it’s dark by 4.30pm in the South of England. There is an understandable leaning towards donning black uniformly, battening down the hatches. But to do that is to invite a dull emptiness, an invitation to a slight depression that we don’t really feel, negative thoughts and emotions. Coming into the season of winter is hard work: light is in short supply, our energy levels can also take a dip, we might feel trapped in our own homes, entering house when it is already dark, shutting the curtains and staring at the 4 walls until we go to bed.
Is there psychological evidence to suggest that clothes improve the mood?
I do believe that your inner being reflects your outer being, and that your outer being reflects your inner state.
So, with that in mind, here are some easy ways to stay cheerful over this winter period.
The first is the most obvious: inject colour into your wardrobe. (expand on this, coat is a good one)
The second is: stay well groomed. If you can avoid staying in gym kit all day (if you are working from home) or not wear worn out clothes to work all the better. Being well groomed is about taking pride in one’s appearance. Make a pact with yourself to do one personal grooming activity over the next 7 weeks, which will take you past new year, and which will ensure that you look after yourself even when the temperatures plummet, you haven’t seen a salad in weeks, and the bank account is taking a pounding. It may be to paint your nails and keep you eyebrows groomed – think of it like a mini end of year’s resolution, or a practice run for January.
It might be to treat yourself to a bath every night, to award, yes award! yourself with a luxurious bathtime routing each evening or every other evening until Monday January 4th and see how you feel. And you plan for it each day and look forward to it. It might even be to read your book every day, even over the festive season, when demands on us are great. Essentially it has to be an opportunity to look after yourself.
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Get out all your winter shoes that you’re not wearing because it’s easier to wear the same pair, or alternate the same 2 pairs every other day. Resolve to wear them, yes even the beaded black mules, over the course of the next feew weeks.
If you hadn’t guessed already the idea is to give your brain something to do to stop it dwelling on previous thoughts which have become easy roads to travel. Doing fun, simple activities may sound over simpistic and I am not propsing that they’re a cure for serious depression. But I am suggesting that a simple, kind habit, executed over a hosrt perioud of time, a kind of pop-up habit if you will, can have a counter-active effect on our low mood and energy levels at this time of year.
Nature is not black……
Has research shown that simple activities repeated can counter depression?