The Winter is a tough season for many to get through. Shorter days, cooler weather, and lack of sunlight can drop our mood, lower our energy, and send us into hibernation mode. Often we get up to go to work and it is dark out, and we return at the end of the day with no light. If we work in an environment with no windows or external light, we can go a long time without seeing brightness. Many people, especially who live in the Northern Hemisphere like us, experience Seasonal Affective Disorder – a feeling of low mood and sometimes depression in the winter months. So how can we get through the Winter and transition into Spring more easily? Below are a few tips that you can hopefully incorporate to make you feel lighter and brighter….
- Exercise! Try incorporating into your regular routine something that you enjoy doing – walk, run, swim, ski, bike, yoga, go to the gym. Staying active will raise serotonin levels in your body, the ‘feel good’ hormone in your body. If it is hard to get motivated to leave the house, find a buddy that can join you so you can encourage each other.
- Eat a balanced diet. There is truth in the saying, ‘You are what you eat’. Focus on eating whole grains, lean protein, fruit, vegetables, and ‘good’ fats such as fish, nuts, seeds, and avocado. Chances are if you eat healthier food, that you will feel healthier – not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.
- Reduce the consumption of refined sugars – baked goods, candy, chocolate, white/brown sugar, and artificial sweeteners. This will only contribute to the low mood you are feeling. Although sugar may initially make you feel better by increasing your blood sugar level, you will quickly crash, and this will have a downward spiral effect on your mood.
- Sleep Hygeine – Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night, with at least an hour or two of this time being before midnight. Waking more refreshed will enable you to handle the day ahead that much easier. Better quality and quantity of sleep will also strengthen your immune system by starving off those nasty bugs.
- Supplement orally with Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin – and omega 3s. These can often be deficient during the winter months and can help with balancing your mood. IV (intravenous) vitamin/mineral therapy – a cocktail of different vitamins and minerals injected directly into the bloodstream- can also be highly effective in treating Seasonal Affective Disorder and Depression. For more information on IV therapy, click here.
- Spend time with family and friends. Take up a hobby. Volunteer at a local organization. Isolating ourselves for long periods of time can dampen our mood. Try to draw on the strength of others. Happiness and laughter can be therapeutic medicine in itself.
- Plan a vacation. If you are able to escape to some sunshine and warmth during the winter months, even for a short duration, you can get a strong dose of Vitamin D from the sun. A sunny trip can often help you get through the rest of your winter and make the transition to Spring seamless.
- Buy a light therapy box. By sitting daily under the light for about 20-30 minutes, it can help with overall well-being by increasing Vitamin D and serotonin levels.
- Self-Care. Take time for yourself. Meditate. Go for a massage or acupuncture. Curl up with a good book. Meet a friend at a local coffee shop. Relax in a comforting bath. Nurture yourself. You deserve it!