Simple Steps to Cure Beating the Winter Blues
Winter gives us a shivering feeling accompanied by the cold and frigid temperature. Sometimes, this coldest season can get deep inside us and disrupt our daily lives. When dark, dank, and chilly weather settles in, it brings emotional turmoil causing a seasonal affective disorder (SAD) also called the winter blues.
There is no clinical diagnosis for winter blues but it affects our mood and our mental health. It intervenes with daily life making us feel low, less energetic, and depressed. Apart from the seasonal shift, there can be many reasons behind this imbalance.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or winter blues is a seasonal depression that occurs when the seasonal marks a dip in temperature. It usually starts from the autumn when the days become shorter, and sunlight gradually decreases.
This fluctuation in mood and change in energy is associated with a seasonal period that begins from early autumn and continues until late spring. Even when the weather is gloomy and rainy, people can experience the conditions of SAD.
Reports found that up to 2% of Canadians are affected with SAD, and its milder version can even reach 15% of the total population. Typically, women are worst affected by SAD, as it is 4 times higher in females than in males.
There are certain symptoms related to SAD
- Irritation/ Moodiness
- Lack of appetite
- A feeling of exhaustion or fatigue
- Gaining weight
- Cravings for sweets and carbohydrates
If you are going through the winter blues, there is nothing wrong with it. With systematic management and approaches, you can easily bring it under control.
“People feel sad sometimes, and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, having emotions is part of what makes us all human and not something that we want to extinguish,” says Georgia Gaveras, DO, chief psychiatrist and co-founder of Talkiatry.
Simple Steps to Cure the Winter Blues
Taking Best Energy Supplements
Our body requires essential vitamins and minerals to carry out various functions in the body. The deficiency of the required nutrients can bring a change in the body’s performance. The first step to combat the winter blues is by taking the best energy supplements that keep the condition under check.
Vitamin D3: Vitamin D is a key component that maintains optimum blood sugar levels, regulates our mood, and boosts our immune system. During the seasonal shift, the body goes through a deficiency of natural vitamin D because of limited sun exposure. This is why you must try to substitute it with the best vitamin D3 supplements.
It can be obtained naturally through foods like milk, egg yolk, mushrooms, and bony fishes. Moreover, you can also consume it in supplement form like tablets, powder, etc.
Vitamin B-12: This is another vitamin that is associated with depression in the body. There is a lot of tasty ways to include it in the diet with items like salmon, crabs, oysters, eggs, lean beef, yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, and others.
You can also consume in a Liquid Drops form with vitamin B-12.
Folic Acid: Few scientific research claims folic acid to be a mood booster. The body uses this vitamin to create serotonin, a neurotransmitter that impacts mood.
You can get high amounts of it through food like leafy greens, sunflower seeds, oranges, lentils, soybeans, and others. It can also be consumed in supplement form.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega 3 fatty acids received appreciation for improving mental wellness. Having the proper omega-3 fatty acids supplements can moderate the symptoms of depression in people.
Moreover, you can also find the sources that contain the highest amount of this nutrient like salmons, cods, walnuts, flax seeds, etc.
Tryptophan: It is an amino acid that promotes emotional well-being and improved sleep quality in individuals and reduces conditions like depression and anxiety. Being a serotonin creator, this supplement can also be included for beating the winter blues.
Naturally, foods high in protein are tryptophan suppliers. It includes fish, chicken, egg, tofu, peanuts, pumpkin, and sesame seeds.
Get Some Light
The exact cause behind the winter blues or SAD is unknown, but lack of natural sunlight can meddle with the biological clock of the body. This brings an imbalance in hormones by affecting the mood and sleep cycles. The light plays a crucial role in helping the body absorbing vitamin D3.
Natural Sunlight: During the winter months, it needs to be a priority to seek some natural sunlight. When you step out in the Sun, it enhances serotonin activity, raises vitamin D levels, and balances circadian rhythm leading to stable well-being.
The reaction of cholesterol with the UV rays activates the vitamin d level in the body.
Artificial Light Therapy: If you don’t have access to the outside sunlight, light therapy is another alternative you can try. This treatment is also known as phototherapy, which exposes to the artificial light source.
It compensates for the natural sunlight with a lightbox device that radiates strong light. A 10-15 minutes session can be impactful for feel-good brain chemical serotonin production.
Embracing Lifestyle Modifications
Individuals can also offset mood fluctuations with healthy lifestyle practices. There is a list of activities that can contribute to your inner wellness.
Do Physical Activity: The easiest way to defeat the winter blues is to force yourself to stay active. This will help to combat symptoms of depression, insomnia, and stress. Devote time to fitness activities like walking, strength training, cardio, yoga, meditation, and other related activities.
Start with 10-30 minutes of fitness activities and see the beneficial changes.
Have a Productive Routine: Winter blues can be an emotionally heavy period. However, if you have a productive routine, you can lessen the condition. Lighten up your life with manageable tasks, creative hobbies, and fun activities.
Set a sleep schedule with an alarm and try to get out of bed. Laugh often, as it releases serotonin and endorphins, which reduces stress and uplifts mood.
Winter blues or SAD can be overwhelming for both your physical and mental well-being. No one can change the course of the seasons but can make mindful choices in their life.
If the situations seem staggering beyond control, it is wise to seek professional help and stay on medications.