When the breeze that once felt refreshing in the summer begins to chill, I feel a sense of dread come over me, I know the days are about to become shorter and the cold winter nights longer. Gone are my evening walks every day after work or swimming in the lake while the sunset reflects pink, yellow, and purple colors in the water. Instead, I know it will be essential to find a good book to read, friends to connect with, get on my exercise bike, and sign up for yoga classes. There can be a feeling of peace in winter when the world slows down. But the lack of sunlight, for many, brings on seasonal affective disorder.
Many people experience a low mood or feel down during the fall and winter months. This is attributed to limited exposure to sunlight. When this begins to affect our behavior, impact our thinking, and become a more severe form of depression it is called seasonal affective disorder. This affects many individuals in temperate climates where winter days are longer and colder. Seasonal affective disorder becomes a form of hibernation. People with this disorder feel gloomy, stop spending time with their friends and have lost interest in activities they normally enjoy. In addition, they often begin to sleep more and start to put on weight due to craving “comfort foods” such as carbohydrates, like cookies and cakes. 1 If someone already suffers from depression or bipolar disorder, they may experience more severe symptoms during the winter months. 2
Remedies for seasonal affective disorder
Light therapy is a devise that contains white fluorescent light tubes covered with a plastic screen that blocks ultraviolet rays. Light therapy boxes range in intensity. Studies indicate that light therapy improves symptoms for up to 70% of people just after a few weeks of treatment, if not sooner. Light therapy needs to be consistent sitting at least 30 min. However, if you have any underlying health conditions, diabetes, or retinal damage it would be best to check with your health care provider. Light therapy may not be appropriate for everyone.3
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of talk therapy that has been shown to ease thoughts of hopelessness and negativity, reframing the thoughts to be more positive. It also teaches new ways to engage in activities that are uplifting. 4
A brisk walk outside for 20 minutes at least five days a week has been shown to improve mood. You could also try being adventurous! Skiing, snowshoeing, or skating are all activities the whole family can participate in. It is important to get your body moving to avoid becoming sluggish and it helps produce good brain chemistry.5
Exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that reduce pain and increase feelings of well-being. In addition, exercise increases your metabolism, which helps improve your energy levels. There are many online classes that you can sign up for or perhaps purchasing home exercise equipment or join a gym.6
It is essential to eat a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables along with healthy fats and protein. This is because our bodies require a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals. In addition, research demonstrates that certain foods affect powerful mood-modifying brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are made from the foods we eat and are present in higher concentrations after meals than between them. Two such foods are dark chocolate, fatty fish like salmon. 7
Fermented foods like Kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt and kombucha support gut health where 90% of the feel-good hormone serotonin is produced. 8
Bananas a natural source of sugar, fiber and vitamin B6 that help to keep mood stable. They are great to add into a smoothy!9
Nuts and seeds are healthy fats, and some are high in tryptophan, zinc and selenium which support brain function and may lower the risk of depression.10
Beans and lentils provide protein and are rich in mood-boosting nutrients such as B vitamins .11
Supplement to boost winter blues
Vitamin D low levels of vitamin D is a problem for many during the winter. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with depression. It would be beneficial to have your health care provider check you vitamin D levels for appropriate dosage for supplementation. 12
Omega 3 contains anti-inflammatory actions that may help relieve symptoms of depression.
Probiotics on mood may improve psychological well-being by improving aspects of mood and sleep quality. Gut and brain communicate with each other via the gut-brain axis. This influences mood and brain function.13
Multi vitamins have demonstrated the ability to reduce mild symptoms of mood dysfunction. Nutritional deficiencies can cause mood disturbances.14
These three supplements are sold in convenient packs in our Trilogy product for Men and Woman.
Hang in there!
As of January 18th, we will have an extra hour of daylight. Every four weeks there after we will get back another hour of daylight!