Is this the winter of your discontent? If the gloomy weather has you feeling blue and the cold has you reducing your exercise and outdoor time, you need to read this. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) results in feelings of depression, loneliness, fatigue, hopelessness and insomnia. Weight gain is common and a general disinterest in activities you usually enjoy.
SAD is the result of too little sunlight in the winter. Serotonin and melatonin levels drop and many suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. You can feel springtime levels of joy if you just take the time to care for yourself a little. Here are some easy, natural ways to shake the winter blues.
Let there be Light
Light therapy mimics the sun’s effects on the body to help ease the symptoms of SAD. There are several light boxes available online which will help you feel better with just 20 to 40 minutes of exposure daily. Studies show that light therapy works best in the morning and will relieve symptoms of depression that result from SAD.
Dawn simulators offer relief from symptoms that is similar to light therapy. Dawn simulators are alarms that wake you up by gradually increasing the light in the room to mimic the sun rising. This is less jarring than being woken by an alarm or the radio, so it makes for a more peaceful start to your day.
Aromatherapy has been shown to reduce the symptoms of depression. Essentials oils like lavender and red cedar can lift moods and ease other symptoms like anxiety. You can use a diffuser to release scents into your home or mix up some lavender spray to spritz the blues away. Here’s a recipe.
Take your Vitamins!
Vitamin D deficiencies contribute to feelings of depression. Vitamin D is produced when skin is exposed to sunshine. With little exposure to the sun during the winter months, the body’s supplies of vitamin D are depleted. Studies show that taking a vitamin D supplement or using light to produce vitamin D on the skin will help to relieve symptoms of depression.
Forest bathing is all the rage – it simply means spending time in nature without the distractions of phones and cameras. Connecting with nature can have a profound effect on our mood and general wellbeing. Studies show that forest bathing can lower blood pressure and release feel-good hormones that elevate mood.
Yup! You knew this one was coming! I know its cold and crappy out, but you need to spend time outdoors. Exercise lowers heart rate and blood pressure and releases hormones that help you shake those winter blues while reducing winter weight gain that may also contribute to your bad mood.