Beat the Winter Blues and Blahs
Posted by Joy McCarthy on Nov 22, 2012 | Wellness And Balance
Cold weather and less sunshine can make even the happiest person feel a little down in the winter months. I can personally relate as I often find myself dreaming of hot sunny summer days. However, I do take steps in the winter to avoid a case of the blues and blahs which I’m going to share with you.
The most common symptoms of winter blues are low mood, weight gain and cravings for sweet or starchy foods. More severe symptoms which may be indicative of Seasonal Affective Disorder in addition to the previous symptoms mentioned include: depression, lack of motivation or interest in daily activities, sleep disruption, exhaustion, nervousness and irritability. If you have severe symptoms then you should definitely seek the advice of a qualified professional.
If you are like 1/3 of Canadians, rather than succumbing to a case of the winter blues why not take some actionable steps to feel joyous all throughout the winter? There are really effective natural remedies that include both diet and lifestyle and they can have dramatic results.
Get some sunshine on your beautiful face.
The key is to maximize your exposure to sunlight since the days are much shorter. Walk to work, or get outside for a noon-hour power walk, open the curtains, sit by a window – the key is to increase light exposure throughout the day since the evenings get dark by 5:30 or 6pm. Light is a very effective mood booster. In fact, some studies have even shown light therapy to be as effective as taking antidepressants.
Get your booty outside.
Hibernation may be tempting when it is chilly and snowing, but fresh air will do your body and mind good. Studies have shown that just five minutes of outdoor exercise has mood boosting benefits including increased serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain.
If the thought of exercise outdoors sends a chill up your spine, then why not do something fun like go ice skating with friends, tobogganing with your kids or play street hockey! The ideas are endless. Even just going out for a hike in nature and being around big evergreen trees can be incredibly uplifting!
The Sunshine Vitamin D
Our levels of vitamin D tend to drop in the winter because our skin is exposed to much less sunshine. Vitamin D is extremely beneficial for enhancing your mood and prevention of Season Affective Disorder. Since vitamin D is fairly scarce in our food supply, supplementation is recommended. It is important to speak to your natural healthcare practitioner to determine the right amount for you.
Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages.
While it may be tempting to polish off a bottle of wine with a delicious dinner on a blistery cold night, doing this night after night will have negative effects on both your metabolism and your mood. Alcohol after all, is a depressant, so save drinking for a special occasion or drink very moderately.
Choose your thoughts wisely.
Every day you have thousands of thoughts. Take note of your thoughts – are they positive or negative? Choosing a positive outlook every day takes effort but it has incredible benefits. Your thoughts create your actions and your actions create the life you desire. Are your actions creating the life you desire? If not, what are the thoughts you are creating day after day. Let it empower you that you have complete control of your thoughts, so choose wisely.
I recommend daily health affirmations. So on closing, I will leave you with some positive affirmations that I recommend you say out loud to yourself in the morning before heading off to work.
I choose to nourish my body with whole, healthy foods that make me feel good.
I choose positive thoughts that serve me well.
I choose to release negative thought patterns and only allow those thoughts that nourish my body, mind and spirit.