Winter Blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs when the days get shorter.
The main cause is lack of exposure to sunlight which disrupts the body’s internal clock or circadian rhythm. Reduced exposure to sunlight also causes drops in serotonin and melatonin levels which can affect mood and sleep patterns.
Some of the symptoms you may be experiencing include excessive sleeping, low motivation, weight gain, low sex drive, decreased concentration and desire to socialize. But don’t despair! You don’t have to wait until the summer to feel better. SAD is treatable, so here are some natural ways to start feeling better and banish those blues for good.
If you can get outside for a walk or a run, great! You will you raise the levels of serotonin in your brain, and the exposure to the sun will help your body produce more Vitamin D. Vitamin D is one of many nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy. It keeps bones and muscles strong, it can slow weight gain and can help prevent chronic headaches. If you would rather exercise inside: go to the gym, a yoga studio, or your local indoor pool. Don’t even want to go out? Crank some music and dance for 20 minutes!
If you are feeling more tired than usual, sleep. It’s ok. Gather some wood and meditate by the fire- give yourself permission to slow down.
Acupuncture naturally releases serotonin and endorphins which helps to ease anxiety and depression.
With less exposure to sunlight, our bodies produce less Vitamin D. Try to get as much sunlight exposure as possible. If your Vitamin D levels are low, consider a supplement.
Eat less refined sugar and more foods that are high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. It is harder but not impossible to find decent fresh produce in the winter. Some excellent options are root vegetables, kale, cabbage, collard greens, pomegranates, dark chocolate, and avocados. Also, remember, hot foods and beverages like soup and tea can warm both body and soul.
Sit by the window
Your cat and dog have the right idea! Open the blinds and sit close to a bright window in your home or your office. It feels good and you will reap the benefits of the sunlight.
Ain’t no cure for the summertime blues? Maybe not, but there are plenty of remedies for the winter
blues. – As hard as it may be to get out there, try to connect with people that make you happy. Invite them to your house and go outside and make snow angels.
Winter is a wonderful time for introspection. Write your thoughts down and look back on them down the road. Notice if you still feel the same or if anything has changed. Writing letters to others is another great way to stay connected and let people know that you care, and who doesn’t love getting a letter in the mail these days?
Take advantage of other fun activities only winter has to offer like skiing, skating and snowshoeing. Dress warmly, keep your body nourished, and get moving but rest when you need it.
Whatever way you choose to help deal with your Wintertime Blues, be gentle with yourself. Rest when you need to rest, play when you need to play, but most importantly, have fun and stay connected!