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5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues
‘Tis the season for holidays and cheer. For some, it’s the time for sadness and gloom due to the winter blues, seasonal depression, or (the medical term) seasonal affective disorder or SAD. This problem isn’t just brought on by the holidays; it’s primarily linked to the weather and how we react to it. I will show 5 ways to beat the Winter Blues and enjoy the winter season a bit more.
Supplement With Vitamin D
Having adequate supplies of vitamin D in the body helps with brain function, bone health, a healthy immune system, muscle function, and so much more. Having low levels of vitamin D has been shown to increase depression symptoms. This vitamin, which we naturally get from the sun and some foods, tends to become deficient during the winter months when we stay warm indoors and rarely see the sun. Some great ways to increase vitamin D levels is to eat more fish, eat more egg yolks, go outside when the sun is shining, or take supplements. I would recommend getting your vitamin D levels checked through a blood test. The “sweet spot” for vitamin D is serum levels between 40-60 ng/ml according to Dr. Rhonda Patrick.
Enjoy The Sun
Easier said than done, right. Whenever the sun is shinning is a great time to be outside regardless of the season. Getting plenty of sunlight helps with the production of serotonin not only because of the increase in vitamin D, but also because the light, practically the blue light, helps the brain build stronger connections. Stronger connections help the brain stay healthy. An unhealthy brain typically can leads to depression. Another way to enjoy the benefits of the sun is a Blue Light. Blue light is also helps wake us up in the morning and assists in producing melatonin at night to help give us a full night’s sleep. The winter blues can be banished by the getting enough blue light.
Beat the blues with the blue.
Get outside and be active during the day
Just because it isn’t 80 degrees outside doesn’t mean you have to become sedentary and just stay inside. Try to keep doing the
outdoor activities that you enjoy in the nice weather, or hit the slopes. If being active outdoors isn’t your thing and you’d rather stay warm inside, then working out is a great option. Physical activity has been very effective for treating depression and keeping your brain healthy.
A lot of researchers are suggesting using exercise as a treatment over medication. This is because of all the extra benefits of exercise and also it increases the serotonin amounts more than most antidepressants.
Something as easy as a 10 minute walk can help the body produce more serotonin. And if you start making it a habit the body will have naturally higher levels even when you aren’t working out.
Eat a lot of big hearty meals to fill you up
Eat bigger heartier meals, such as stews or pot roasts. Bigger meals will help insulate us more for the cold. Also, the brain releases more serotonin throughout the day when we’re full and properly fueled. Although I typically advocate eating fewer carbohydrates, increasing them during the cold months is very beneficial to the mood.
Here is a great recipe that will do the trick.
PaleOMG’s Butternut Squash & Sage Beef Stew
PaleOMG is Juli Bauer, a Denver based champion for health and exercise.
At night, become nice and cozy
One of my favorite things about winter is being inside, having a fire roaring, a big mug of warm apple cider, being wrapped up in a blanket, and enjoying some time with friends. This creates a nice piece of mind and time to relax for the long day. The Norwegians call this practice koselig, meaning a sense of coziness. They practice koselig all the time and are consider experts on winter. Why you ask, well because they are Norwegian. So get tucked in with a big blanket and enjoy your time without the winter blues.
So the 5 ways to beat the winter blues are:
– Vitamin D
– Get Some Sunlight
– Be Active
– Eat Big Meals
– Get Ultra Comfortable at Night
Hope this helps you the next winter season. Though this is specific for dealing with the Winter Blues, they are also a great start to dealing with depression. Something I know all too well about and would never wish it on anyone. Though this is just my opinion and not medical advice, it is always something you can include with what your doctor suggests if you are dealing with any depression symptoms. Talk about it with your doctor and see what they think. One of the worst thing you can do with depression is to not get help. Don’t be embarrassed about it and make the right choice to start on a path for a better body, brain, and life.