It’s easy to see that daylight hours are also dwindling as we move further into winter. My once sunny walks with the puppy after work are now setting sun walks (out comes the headlamp!). I even bought my dog a light that hooks onto his collar so I can see him while out walking off leash. Ah winter. Can’t say I am happy to see it make its appearance along with its friend DARKNESS…
Many people experience low moods and low energy levels due to the darkness that the winter season brings. It is often called “Winter Blues”. These low moods/energy levels can even worsen sometimes and turn into full blown S.A.D. I definitely have experienced S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder). It’s funny how sometimes you don’t realize how grumpy and tired you were during winter, until spring hits and you feel so much better!
The body has its own inner clock which is the circadian rhythm which is controlled and regulated by the pineal gland. The pineal gland is affected by natural light, and is responsible for many functions such as hormone production, body temperature and timing of sleep. If our inner clock is disrupted this can lead to depression as well as insomnia and other sleep disorders. Natural light plays a huge role in keeping our mind and body functioning well and we sure tend to lack natural light during the winter season.
So, what can you do to avoid the “Winter Blues” over the dark winter season my North American compadres? Get started NOW, to prevent it from even occurring this winter!
Let’s get into it!
9 Easy Ways to Avoid the Winter Blues:
- Get outside daily in natural light: this can help to regulate your inner clock and increase absorption of Vitamin D;
- Add natural lights into your office: (switch from fluorescents if you can) and this will help to add more natural light into your life and daily routine;
- Socialize: During the winter people can become hermits, try to get out and organize the occasional (outdoor) activity with friends. It is remarkable the boost in spirit that can come from socializing regularly;
- Exercise : Try to exercise 4-5 days per week (just 30 minutes!). Moving your body and breathing fresh air can increase endorphins, uplift your mood and increase energy;
- Light therapy: consider buying yourself a good quality light box which you could use for 20-30 minutes each morning. This can help to regulate your sleep schedule and uplift your moods;
- Eat well: Consider cutting the refined carbs and processed sugars out of your diet. These foods can send your blood sugar levels into a tailspin and bounce your moods all over the place like a ping pong ball! Try to eat balanced meals which include complex carbohydrates, fibre, protein and fat. By keeping your blood sugar levels balanced, your cravings will be controlled and moods will stay consistent!
- Supplement: If you live in northern climates then definitely consider adding a Vitamin D supplement into your daily regimen especially for the months of (November to March);
- Vitamin D foods: Try to eat plenty of natural high quality sources of vitamin D containing foods! (fish liver oils, organic eggs, organic butter, dandelion greens, halibut, shiitake, oatmeal, salmon, sweet potatoes and vegetable oils are some ideas). It may also be a wise idea to get your vitamin D levels checked yearly by your practitioner in order to keep track and be proactive;
- Rest, rest, rest: Winter = hibernation time. Listen to your body and try to rest more. Take care of yourself!
So, please do share… What is your plan this winter to keep your energy levels and moods balanced? Comment over on Facebook and let me know.
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Here’s to a happy winter ahead!