Winter Blues getting you down?
6 easy fixes to improve your mood during this time of year.
Now since the time change is in full swing and it is dark outside before most of us are getting home from work or school activities, some of us are feeling the winter blues or SAD, seasonal affective disorder, setting in. We may feel the need to eat comfort food, crave sugar, want to sleep all of the time, gain a little weight, think slower, feel fatigued, irritable and unhappy.
Many people think that there is no natural help for this time of year besides a little vacation to sunny Florida, but there are many natural options to help for this time of year.
Get your vitamin D level checked
Vitamin D is essential for all areas of the body especially the brain. There are numerous studies that show that Vitamin D alone helped lessen or resolve depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Make sure that your Vitamin D is D3, also called cholecalciferol. You say, “I eat tons of cheese and drink milk”, or “there is Vitamin D in my multi”. That may not be enough. Many of these foods and vitamins are fortified or made with Vitamin D2, ergocalciferol. Vitamin D2 is not easily absorbed, has poorer stability, and shorter duration of action versus D3.
Also, if you are already taking the correct form of vitamin D and your levels are still low, you may have to increase the amount you are taking, or take your D in combination with other fats or fat soluble vitamins like A, E and K.
Are you in need of essential fatty acids, like omega 3 found in fish oil?
Did you know your brain consists of 60% fat, specifically DHA? Essential fatty acids are important for your brain and whole nervous system. Omega 3’s will help enhance brain health, elevate mood, relieve depression and decrease inflammation.
Stay away from sugar.
Yes, you hear us at the Center say all of the time that sugar is bad. Well it really is. Eating sugar and refined carbohydrates, especially in large amounts, will give you sudden highs and lows in the amount of glucose in your blood. These swings in blood sugar make the brain very unhappy, causing all sorts of mood challenges. Sugar also depletes your body of magnesium, calcium, trace minerals like chromium and zinc and B vitamins. Consider B vitamins including B12. The B’s are essential in brain health and fixing mood issues. When your body lacks B vitamins, your nervous system suffers and you may experience fatigue, depression, and anxiety. These vitamins cannot be stored in our body, so we depend on our daily diet to supply them. This is especially true in the winter months, when many people are not eating as many green veggies (a good source of many B vitamins).
Exercise and spend some time outside.
Exercise increases serotonin levels, one of your happy neurotransmitters. Also, studies show exercising outside will give you a greater boost. One hour of outdoor exercise had the same benefit as 2.5 hours of light treatment indoors. So go outside and build a snowman, have a snowball fight or take a walk and take in all of winter’s beauty.
Another easy fix is to use full spectrum lighting in your home and office. Full spectrum lights help mimic the benefits of sunshine. The full-spectrum bulb benefits? Better sleep, improved concentration, mental clarity and mood, plus a tougher immune system. Slowing down in the winter is common, but keeping your mood up does not have to be difficult during the winter months.
Come on in to see what we can do to help you with these wintertime changes.