How to Beat Those Winter Blues

Posted by on Monday, January 9, 2017

During winter months we get less sunlight, shorter days and colder weather which can lead to less time outdoors and increased levels of depression. 

I know I tend to spend more time inside leading to less exposure to sunlight and lower levels of Vitamin D which can lead to depression and other health issues.  

Here are some of my tips for beating the winter blues: 

Use artificial light. Many people invest in a light box, which simulates the sun's natural rays, emitting 2,500 to 10,000 lux (a normal light fixture emits 250 to 500 lux). 

They work by reducing the release of melatonin in the brain. For best results, use a light box daily, in the early morning, and for 30 minutes to two hours at a time. Many people see improvement in about 2 weeks.

You can use the light box to effectively lengthen the day: use it before daylight, after the sun sets, or a combination of the two. Increasing the day length by two hours should be effective.

Fill up on healthy fats.  Yes!  I said it, eat more fat this winter.  Now I mean health fats not just any sort of fat.  Foods filled with omega 3 fats are great for your mood and your body.  

Our brains are in need of healthy fats like Omega 3s to function properly.  If our brains are deficient in Omega 3’s we can experience depression and anxiety.  Having the proper amounts of Omega 3’s in your diet can also help to burn fat and keep that winter weight off.

Increase foods that are high in Omega 3s like salmon, walnuts and chia seeds.  You may also want to add in a high quality fish oil supplement.  

Get moving! I know its cold, I know you want to stay in bed or on the couch and drink hot chocolate and marshmallows but exercise is proven to release endorphins which help to boost your mood. 

Just 20 minutes of exercise a day can help to increase blood flow to your body helping to feel more energized and be in a better mood.

Get some sun- If you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark you see almost no sunlight during the day. Try and take a walk at lunch to go out and get some natural sunlight to help boost your mood. 

You may also want to start using a Vitamin D supplements.  If you haven’t gotten your blood tests done by your doctor recently you should check out your vitamin D levels. If you have a vitamin D deficiency you are more likely to have problems losing weight and being depressed.  

If you are deficient in Vitamin D and you don’t get to see the sun often I would recommend 5,000 IU of a good quality Vitamin D supplement a day.

Pick up a Winter Hobby. 

Having a winter hobby like snowboarding, skiing or iceskating can help to have something to look forward to during the long cold winter.  These activities that can help to boost endorphins and help to make you feel happier. 

Check out your Adrenals and Thyroid. 

Mild depression can be a sign of adrenal and thyroid issues and winter can make them worse.  If you get up in the morning feeling tired, rely on caffeine to make it through the day and are experiencing weight gain, then your adrenals or thyroid can be to blame. 

If you suspect that you have an adrenal or thyroid issue you can email me to set up a time to talk about your health. 

Spend time with people who make you happy. Make an effort to make plans with friends and family that you enjoy spending time with and that make you smile. You may want to sit in your house and isolate yourself when in a sad mood but the best thing to do is to go out and meet up with friends.  

Schedule time with friends to do something healthy and active and you will be killing to birds with one stone.  Try and remove the energy suckers out of your life, you know those people who just drain your energy out of you when you are around them.  

Spend time with people who build you up and make you smile and less time around people who don’t make you happy.