Guys, I know. Winter is almost over. The Chinese calendar says so. It's March. But as I look at the snow coming down over Baltimore as a write this, I’m painfully reminded that we’re still in this for a hot second.
I’ll be honest, I hate winter. It’s literally the worst for me. The cooler temps and snow are fun for about a week, and then I’m over it. Between the months of November and April, I usually struggle with depression, anxiety, fatigue, and generally just feeling ‘meh’ about everything.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is extremely common, and the MayoClinic says SAD is “…a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.”
Many people will complain about having the “Winter Blues” which makes me think that they may be experiencing a mild version of SAD as well.
While the specific causes are unknown, it is believed that the lack of sunlight during the winter months may disrupt our circadian rhythms, which could throw off our serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain.
Regardless, here are 5 ways to help you power through the rest of this cold-ass winter:
1. Check your supplement levels. Are you on a good quality multi-vitamin? How’s your Vitamin D? Ask your doctor to check your levels to see if you should be taking an extra dose. Sam-E and Fish Oil are also known to promote healthy brain function, which can contribute to more stable moods.
2. Get a Happy Light! Lightbox Therapy has been used successfully for many folks with SAD, and it’s super easy to do. This is the model I have (http://www.amazon.com/Verilux-VT01WW1-HappyLight-Compact-Energy/dp/B00761HREI) I just sit this guy on my desk and turn it on to face me whenever I’m sitting there. I love having it during my super dark early mornings.
3. Eat more warming foods. During the cooler months, our bodies have a harder time with raw foods, since they have a cooling effect on the body. Try to add more cooked food to your routine, especially dark leafy greens and root vegetables, which can have a very grounding effect on your mood.
4. Aromatherapy! I love to use Wild Orange Essential Oil in my diffuser for an instant pick me up. Any citrus will do, really.
5. Self-Care and Rest. As much as we try to resist the pull of winter and continue our go-go-go lives, our bodies crave rest during this time. So go ahead and take that nap, go to bed early, sleep in, lay around on the couch. This is the time to do it! The days when you’re feeling down are a reminder to do what makes you feel good. Take a bath, read a book, drink some hot tea, paint your nails, whatever!
BONUS TIP: If you can, take a trip somewhere warm. Even if it’s just for a weekend, the boost of sunlight and warmth can make a world of a difference. Really, it helps to just have the reminder that summer is a thing that exists. Try to go in November or February to help keep the winter blues at bay.
What do you think? What’s helped you deal with the cold, dark months?