Combatting the November blues

Alice Holmes tells us what the Novemeber blues are, and how we can combat them

Alice Holmes
26th October 2020
As October draws to a close, days get shorter, nights get darker and the weather gets colder, it isn’t unusual to feel a sense of growing apprehension towards the coming month of November. Perhaps it’s the promise of an endless winter ahead or the achingly long distance till the Christmas holidays that fills us with dismay and lethargy but for whichever specific reason it may be, the November Blues are felt by many people across the UK. 

The common symptoms are usually a lack of energy, feeling fatigued and needing more sleep, feeling flat, empty and overall lacking motivation. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that many people feel low at this time of year, however there are plenty of natural, healthy remedies that can reduce the emotions brought on by November blues. 

Get more sleep:

Due to the clocks turning back there are now less hours of natural daylight which can disrupt your usual sleep schedule leaving you feeling tired and unmotivated (common symptoms of November blues).

The hormone, melatonin controls our sleep and wake cycle and it has been proven to become phase delayed in the autumn months which misaligns our body clock. It’s imperative to have a good sleep schedule in order to function successfully throughout the day. Here are some ideas to try and get better quality sleep:

  • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time everyday 
  • Get as much natural light as possible during the day and keep your room as dark as possible before you go to sleep
  • Avoid screens directly before bed
  • Make sure your room is optimum temperature for sleep (scientists recommend 18°C)
  • Avoid caffeine and foods high in sugar and refined carbs before bed

Diet and exercise:

It goes without saying that a healthy diet can improve your lifestyle. However, specifically to the month of November, when sunlight hours are dwindling, our bodies lack vitamin D. This regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body and keeps bones, teeth and muscles healthy. An easy way to ensure your body has enough vitamin D is to incorporate it into your diet. Fish such as tuna, mackerel or salmon all contain high doses, as do mushrooms.

Exercise also releases endorphins, the bodies’ natural painkillers and mood lifters which are essential during the dreariest month of the year, so partaking in daily exercise, whether that be as easy as a morning walk, can be beneficial. 

Make plans to look forward too:

A common emotion this time of year is the feeling of dissatisfaction and unproductivity with nothing to look forward too. You’re right in the middle of the first term of University, Halloween celebrations are out of the way and it’s a long stretch to the Christmas holidays. It’s a good idea to create things to get excited for in order to distract yourself throughout the month amidst all the chaos.

Whether it’s something as small as meeting a friend for coffee, it’s important to figure out who and what makes you happy and what keeps your mood lifted.  

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