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Don’t Let The Darkness Get You Down

Don’t Let The Darkness Get You Down
23 October 2017 James Brooke

Contura provides ‘Happiness Hacks’ to combat the annual gloom associated with the clocks going back.

With nearly half of Brits admitting to feeling low when the clocks go back, Scandinavian lifestyle experts from Contura, Europe’s leading manufacturer of wood burning stoves, offer 11 ‘happiness hacks’ to combat the winter blues Scandi-style.[i]

The end of Daylight Saving time at 2am this Sunday signals the beginning of longer, darker nights and ever-colder weather, but Contura Style and Marketing Director, Catharina Bjorkman, has some expert tips on how to counter the effects of the change in season and bring the glow back to our homes, bodies, hearts and minds.

“With as little as six hours daylight in Sweden on the shortest day – almost two hours less than in the UK,” says Catharina, “we Scandinavians have tried and tested ways of beating the blues. Rather than mourning the arrival of winter, we believe that as long as you are prepared, there are many reasons to celebrate it.”

  1. Let there be light. Natural light is vital for effective brain and body function and those exposed to greater quantities have been shown to be more productive, while also sleeping better at night.[ii]Whilst the sun is up, it’s important to get outside as much as possible and embrace the light as much as the oxygen. It’s also a great excuse to add a few cosy new layers to your winter wardrobe.
  1. Make your own glow. With a little as six hours of natural sunlight per day in the Swedish winter, we often make our own. Natural daylight lamps will extend exposure to light during the darker months are a worthwhile investment, providing mental and physical benefits that can counter Seasonal Affective Disorder.[iii] Studies have also shown that the warming and calming glow of a fire reduces blood pressure and stress levels, providing a quick-fix feel-good factor throughout the winter.
  2. Music to your ears. Create a playlist of upbeat tracks to help you feel energised on dark, cold mornings. Music has been shown to elevate your mood, reduce stress and improve cognitive performance.[iv] The brain releases dopamine while listening to music, so creating a soundtrack for your winter could provide you just the motivation you need to make it through to spring…
  3. Hygge happiness. Hygge (or Mysig in Swedish) is about being kind to yourself, spending quality time, creating a sense of warmth and cosiness, enjoying little indulgences and taking pleasure in the simple things. It’s what gets us Swedes through the winter.As well as creating a cosy environment, do things that make you happy, such as having dinner with family, eating cake, enjoying a hot bath with candles, or snuggling on the sofa with a book and hot drink. Embrace the downtime for a calmer, happier you.
  4. It makes scents: Your sense of smell plays a part in your mood. Different smells can evoke memories, create a sense of comfort, security or peace, and can impact our mood tremendously.[v] Vanilla is good for putting you at ease, lavender induces calm and citrus scents can perk you up. Popular feel-good winter scents include sandalwood, cinnamon, musk, vanilla, orange and clove.
  5. Declutter, declutter declutter. Believe it or not, a mere 20 minutes a week of cleaning can alleviate symptoms of depression. In 2011, Princeton University found that clutter makes it more difficult to focus on a task.[vi]A clear living space really does make for clear mind, meaning you can get on with more pleasurable pursuits without being caught up with the chaos. Move over spring-clean & come on in autumn clear-out.
  1. Chocolate is not always bad. Stock up on quality chocolate (and hot chocolate for those colder nights). Dark chocolate boosts the production of feel-good endorphins and improves blood flow to the brain. Make sure to treat yourself to purer forms, which offer the greater health benefits.[vii]
  2. Baking Therapy. In Scandinavia, baking is a standard winter ritual. Mental health and culinary experts are now supporting the idea that baking can work to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression by combining aspects of traditional occupational therapies.[viii]There are a multitude of reasons that baking can make us happier, including the simple fact that it provides a nice treat to enjoy, brings the family together, makes the home cosy and inviting and makes it smell good too.
  3. Tea Time. Tea contains natural components from antioxidants to caffeine. Amino acids within tea can relax and calm the body, while it has also been shown to reduce mental fatigue and improve the memory.[ix] As winter draws in, it is important to remember to take five regularly and make the most of the warmth and the health benefits that a low calorie, cleansing tea can offer.
  4. A leaf out of our book. Counter the chaos of the daily commute by transporting yourself away from the crowd. Reading reduces stress, fills you with knowledge, expands your vocabulary and improves focus. Get recommendations from friends, family or colleagues and schedule a winter’s worth of reading.[x]
  5. Good for the soul. Try to do one good deed a day, however small. Showing compassion doesn’t just help others; it also helps you. It reduces stress, distracts from negative feelings and has even been shown to increase life expectancy. Acts of altruism release feel-good chemicals in the brain, meaning you’ll be motivated to do more in future.[xi]

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Notes to editors:

  • Rooster PR will coordinate comment, interview and profile opportunities for Contura UK Country Manager, Phil Wood. The Contura PR team will also arrange visits to the nearest Contura Design Centre dealerships or the Contura showroom in Doncaster to see the product range.
  • Sources in end notes below

For further press information:
Alex Fenton/Rachel Sewell/Julie Aguilera
Rooster PR
T: +44 (0)20 3440 8930
E: [email protected]

About Contura
Contura is Europe’s leading manufacturer of wood burning stoves, offering an extensive range of classic and contemporary wood burners; from traditional insert stoves suitable for existing fireplaces, to freestanding statement models made with innovative materials such as soapstone.

Starting at £1,250, Contura stoves are premium yet affordable. Award winning, timeless Swedish design means the products complement or enhance any style of home, whilst also offering outstanding performance, maximum efficiency, practicality and ease of use.

Designed and assembled at the factory located in Markaryd, Sweden, and manufactured to the highest standards, Contura stoves are highly energy efficient, offering powerful convection, superior combustion technology and clean burning systems. Currently, 75% of Contura stoves are DEFRA Clean Air Act exempt and thus approved for use in Smoke Control Areas.

Contura stoves can be purchased through a network of 165 independent retailers nationwide.

Contura is part of the NIBE group, a Swedish manufacturing company producing world class solutions in sustainable energy across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.

Contura is a founding member of the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) in the UK.

For more information please visit

[i] Results taken from a poll run on social media