As winter approaches, the days get shorter….darker….colder… You wake up and leave to work/school in the dark, spend the brightest part of the day working and then return home in the dark. With memories if warm, long days from the summer, it’s no wonder people get depressed in the winter!
Well, this season, let’s combat the winter blues! Let’s boost our energy naturally! Let’s take control! Here are some of my best recommendations…
Exercise is one of the most important things to combat winter blues and preferably outdoors in the daylight. Bundle up and have some fun! Some great ideas include snowshoeing, skiing and skating. The fresh, crisp air can be invigorating – like a cold shower to wake up your senses. It doesn’t really matter what exercise you do – just do it. Exercise releases endorphins, your natural feel good hormone and increases seratonin which encourages healthy sleep. It also improves your circulation which improves healing and oxygenates your brain so you are more alert.
Spend Time with Friends/Family:
Spending time with family and friends is great for lifting the spirit. Even if you don’t feel like it, force yourself to be social. Plan a fun outing, have a dinner party, go for a spa day with the girls… Plan something you will look forward to. Surround yourself with those who have positive energy as some of that positivity is likely to rub off.
Bright Light in the Morning:
Bright light can be very therapeutic. Exposure to bright light in the morning helps to reinforce normal circadian rhythms. Turn your face to the sunshine for 15 minutes when you wake up or to a bright indoor light. What are circadian rhythms? Circadian rhythms are natural rhythms in the body that regulate the sleep-wake cycle, digestion and other body process that occur in cyclic patterns during a 24 hour period. They tell the body when it needs to produce certain hormones and enzymes that regulate body processes.
Consistent Sleep-Wake Cycle:
Forcing yourself to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day also helps to strength your circadian rhythms. This promotes better restoration during sleep and improved energy during daytime. To ensure good sleep, make sure to practice appropriate sleep hygiene techniques such as avoiding caffeine in the afternoon/evening and avoiding bright lights before bed.
Nourish Body with Healthy Foods:
Avoid sugary foods as these will cause spikes in your blood sugar and thus spikes and dips in your mood as well. Complex carbohydrates are better for keeping blood sugar at a more steady level – such as whole grains. Healthy snacks throughout the day also help. In general, whole foods are superior to highly processed foods because they are not stripped of important vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as these are nutritious and aid in good digestive health. Other important things to include are omega-3 oils, nuts, seeds and smart proteins like fish, lean meat and poultry. B-vitamins are especially important as they affect mood. Make sure to also get enough vitamin D – the skin naturally produces this when exposed to sunshine but people may become deficient in the winter months. You are what you eat! Make sure to provide your body with the essential nutrients as these serve as building blocks for cellular regeneration.
Avoid talk About the Weather:
Unless you have something nice to say, don’t talk about the weather. Focus on the positive things.
Find a Hobby or New Challenge/Project:
Completing a challenge or project can give a great sense of accomplishment and will naturally enhance your mood. Try something to stimulate your creativity. Make some artwork or play an instrument. These activities can be very uplifting. Or curl up with a great book.
Vacation to a Warm Destination:
A warm vacation may be just what the doctor ordered. Find balance between work and play.
Experience the Healing Arts:
Things like chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage and other manual therapies often provide relaxation and mood enhancement naturally. Chiropractic care helps to balance the body mechanically as well as neurologically. Many people report positive effects beyond the well know physical effects of chiropractic care. Certain acupuncture points are used for uplifting mood and reducing anxiety.
Dr. Elisabeth Miron