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How to stay upbeat during the dark evenings


The annual transition to darker days and longer nights is tougher for some than others. While there are people who rejoice at the thought of cosy evenings on the sofa, the majority of us are susceptible to feeling the winter blues at some point. 

This can consist of anything from a constant longing for warmer temperatures, to severe cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder, with lower moods, interrupted sleep and social withdrawal being a few of the symptoms. It’s natural – the darkness tricks our brains into thinking we should be asleep, and we lack the serotonin boost we get from daylight. Although it’s not within our power to control the seasons, we can get better at adapting to the changes they bring.

How to stay upbeat during the dark evenings

Staying positive during winter 

Our productivity shouldn’t be dictated by daylight, as demotivating as darkness can be. Setting an early alarm and sticking to a routine will give you much more get up and go, however you choose to fill your schedule. Buy yourself an extra half hour of time in the morning and invest it into doing something you love. It’s an easy way to make the whole day feel more fulfilling. 

Home workouts and gym classes are two great activities to do first thing – or alternatively, fit them in later in the day. Making time to move is really important. Exercise warms up the body, while giving you a much needed energy boost when it might be more tempting to retreat back to bed. This doesn’t have to mean a high-intensity session – even a brisk walk round the park will fire up those endorphins and significantly improve your mood.

Then there’s making the most of the weekends. Get out in the great outdoors, and make up for those lost hours – it’ll charge you up with positivity for the week ahead. Taking control of your schedule allows you to work around the light we do get, and get that comforting coming home feeling without resenting more time inside.

Things you can do on dark winter evenings

Feeling uninspired by a scroll through Netflix in the same old spot? Here are some ways you can take your winter evenings up a level.

Cosy up 

There’s more to cosiness than wrapping up in a blanket. Setting the scene for some chill time will help you to enjoy it all the more. Try adding a little bit of atmospheric lighting. It can go a long way in completely transforming a room’s ambience. String some fairy lights over your shelves, light candles, and get the fire roaring if you have one. Lanterns with mirrors also pack a punch, as the candlelight bounces off the reflective surface – and they complement seasonal decor beautifully.

Max out on home comforts

Get inspired by Pinterest boards and magazines to refresh the environment you spend most time in. Consider rugs and throws to add layers of texture, or rearrange your home decor so you’re surrounded by things that make you smile. There’s also the possibility of bringing the outdoors in – whether that’s with fresh flowers that add a pop of colour, or filling your conservatory with houseplants to create an oasis of your own.

Cook up a storm

It’s always tempting to reach for the chocolates at this time of year, as we seek comfort food more than ever – but indulging in nutritious food is just as rewarding. The actual process of cooking can be incredibly therapeutic, as is the satisfying moment you get to sit down and enjoy your plate of home-cooked deliciousness. Put on your favourite playlist or podcast while you master hearty new recipes like spicy curries or nourishing stews. And pack in lots of seasonal vegetables to keep the winter germs at bay.

Stay in touch

It’s easy to feel isolated when we’re less tempted to venture outside, but that’s no reason not to pick up the phone or arrange a video call with the people you love. Having a laugh with friends and family is a mood booster that never fails – and we’re sure it’ll cheer them up a lot too! A couple of streaming services have recently added watch party features, so you could even enjoy a film together from your own separate sitting rooms.

Make the most of the light we have

Being told to get outdoors only goes so far when the rain is pouring down and the temperatures are near freezing. Sometimes it just isn’t an inviting option. It’s why it’s hugely beneficial to make sure you’re getting as much daylight into your home as possible. Natural daylight helps our circadian rhythm, so as well as simply stopping you feeling overwhelmed by darkness, it will help you sleep better and wake up easier.

The first steps to doing this are simply making sure light’s getting through your windows. That goes beyond opening the curtains in the morning – give any surrounding plants a trim to make sure they’re not obscuring any light, and freshen up the windows with a good clean. A great interior decor tip is to hang mirrors on walls opposite large windows – then the sun’s rays will bounce off the mirrors and multiply around the room.

Then there’s the option of changing your windows and doors entirely. Some just aren’t big enough to let a lot of a light in, when there’s alternatives that flood the room with sun – a perk in both the winter and summer months. Think large French windows, sliding patio doors, or even a full conservatory for a real sun trap. Of course, different solutions will suit some spaces more than others – so if you’re unsure of what would work best for your home, feel free to get in touch with the Otter Windows team.

Try and incorporate one or two of these ideas into your routine to fight your way through the winter blues. Summer will be back before we know it!

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