Many notice, that as the temps drop and daylight hours dwindle, energy levels, mood, and motivation tend to go down the drain, as well. Do you notice this? You may be experiencing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It is quite common to experience these symptoms during the winter months, and many people seek out clinical support through medication to “get through” the winter. However, there is a LOT you can do naturally to enhance your mood during the winter months, and feel great year round! Here are 6 tips to stay energized, motivated, and happy…despite the cold!
For those looking for constant support, a light therapy box can be a great tool to utilize daily to get bright light exposure. In fact, it’s research proven to help 60-80% of patients suffering from SAD…wow! To read more about getting your own light therapy box, read here about selecting one with proven benefits.
At Be Optimal, we recommend utilizing the DreamSpa light therapy machine for a much stronger effect than a light therapy box alone. The DreamSpa delivers 3 of the most researched and beneficial wavelengths of light: blue light, red light, and near-infrared light. A session only takes 30 minutes, and you can read more about all of the benefits of the DreamSpa, here!
Naturally, our vitamin D levels get lower during the winter when we’re not exposed to direct sunlight. Depleted vitamin D levels have been shown to link directly to depression, so it’s very important to supplement with D, especially during the winter months. Not only does Vitamin D support a happy mood, it’s great for the immune system and bone health, too! At Be Optimal, we generally recommend taking between 4-5,000 IU/day for an adult during the winter months, but be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement regimen.
It can be especially hard to stay on a regular workout routine during the winter, but is SO important for mood enhancement! In fact regular exercise is proven to help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety! Research also suggests that the frequency and consistency in your exercise routine is much more important than the duration or intensity. So don’t sweat it if you don’t have time to make that Soul Cycle class….walking on a treadmill for 20 minutes or doing some simple stretching at home to get your body moving will suffice!
NEURO EMOTIONAL TECHNIQUE (NET)
NET is a fabulous tool to help reduce the physiologic stress that seasonal change can have on our body. For many people, there are specific emotional triggers (often relating to childhood) that can put us in a seasonal “funk”. Call our office today to schedule regular NET sessions during the winter months to help you avoid the pattern of feeling low this time of year. Click here to learn more about how NET can help you + your family.
SPEND TIME OUTSIDE
It may be the LAST thing you want to do, but fresh air and the outdoors can do WONDERS for the mood! Even though it isn’t warm, you can get all the positive benefits of sunlight by bundling up and going for a quick walk around the neighborhood. Find winter activities you can enjoy to help you get outdoors! Ideas can include: sledding, snow shoeing, walking dogs, ice skating, playing with kids in the snow, shoveling, and cross country skiing. Can’t make it outdoors? Always keep blinds and curtains open to get the natural light in your home!
In the winter, many tend to pack on the pounds not just for lack of activity! Remember, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet, ever. Winter foods tend to me more calorie dense, than summer food, and higher in carbohydrate. Stick to eating whole non-processed foods from the following groups: high quality protein, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. Avoid: sugar, wheat (carbs), dairy, corn, and soy. Looking for a program to follow to clean up your diet? We recommend the Whole30 program!
We hope that these tips can help you beat the winter blues and feel fabulous, regardless of the season! If you’d like to learn more about seasonal depression and the benefits of the DreamSpa, RSVP to this month’s Dinner with the Docs, which will take place on Tuesday, January 8th at 6:30pm!
Dr. Abby Kramer, DC