As the colder weather comes in, it is easy to feel that mid-winter slump. However, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Often regulated as a case of the winter blues, a significant amount of people experience a more severe version of them. This set of feelings is commonly known as SAD. Short for is seasonal affective disorder, SAD typically comes with the changes of seasons and begins and ends about the same times each year.
From the winter blues to SAD, here are some tools to help you learn more about how you’re feeling, and tools to help you through a low mood:
The Best Foods to Reach For
The foods we eat have been show to have a direct correlation to our mood. From Healthline’s article, some great foods to incorporate into your diet are lean proteins, omega 3 fatty acids, folic acid, and vitamins.
Lean proteins, like salmon, carry a large amount of amino acids. AAs are a great help with positively affecting your mood. Whereas, omega 3 fatty acids, found in oysters, walnuts, and chia seeds, have been found to help combat depression. There has even been some evidence that the body uses folic acid to help increase serotonin. To incorporate more into your diet, up your intake of leafy greens, oatmeal, lentils and oranges. Unsurprisingly, Vitamin D, aka the sunshine vitamin, is another great way to boost your mood when it’s harder to get outside.
One of the most common items that will give a quick serotonin boost, followed by fatigue is sugar. Although a tasty treat should never be off limits, it has been shown to be beneficial to limit your sugar intake to help keep your mood stable.
Moving Your Body
Prioritizing movement is a great way to help boost your mood, as well as decrease depression and stress. As referenced in the Very Well Mind’s article, you can try the 10x10x10 plan. This strategy allows you to break your workouts into chunks, such as 3 10 minute walks a day vs. a single 30 minute workout so it can feel less overwhelming.
There are many ways you can move your body each day, from going on walks, to yoga, to throwing on some good music and dancing. Exercising under bright light, stimulating being outdoors, has been proven to to increase mental health. Try some of these mood boosting workouts to get you started! Feel more motivated in a class? Rebel House is a great local option on the ground floor of The Shop Workspace.
Getting the Rest Your Body Needs
As tempting as it can be to wake up later on dark mornings, it is best to stick with a regular sleep schedule. Falling out of a routine can harm out circadian rhythm, resulting in disruption in to hormone production. There are many techniques to help improve your sleep. Tune in to goop’s podcast with sleep specialist Rafel Pelayo, or follow these 12 steps from from Harvard to learn the best techniques for winding down and staying asleep.
Treat Yo’ Self!
Lastly, it’s never a bad moment to treat yourself! Check out this article from Buzzfeed on items you can purchase to help you through the colder months. Alternatively, you can switch up your space with a membership at The Shop to find inspiration at every turn!
No matter who you are, the winter blues can be hard to shake. As we look forward to warmer weather and longer days, there are many strategies we can using in the meantime to keep us healthy, focused, and mentally strong.
Health Advisory – If you think you could be experiencing SAD, learn more about potential symptoms at this link. Work with your primary care provider to find ways to treat SAD and combat it’s effects on you.