I often struggle with feeling low this time of year. While it doesn’t totally knock me for 6 its still something that I need to be aware of. I can become very isolated and there have been times when I don’t want to cook, go out or even get dressed. I know the signs and I need to be ready to tackle them.
In summer I love getting out whether its hiking in the mountains, walking the dog or going for a jog but those things seem to reduce significantly during the winter (except the dog walking thats a non negotiable).
When it gets darker earlier my ability or desire to go out to do anything reduces and as a result I spend less time in the sun getting that much needed viamin D. So I need to protect myself from the winter blues and perhaps so do you!SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a very real issue associated with winter depression and summer hypomania.
Typically those affected feel depressed, slow down, oversleep, overeat, and crave carbohydrates more than usual. In summer they feel elated, active and energetic. It is generally associated with the lack of sunlight and the vitamin D we get from that. We cant get a lot of vitamin D from our food so we need to get out even if it doesn’t seem that there is much effect coming from the sun get out anyway.
Here are a couple of things to help beat the winter blues
Supplement – Its important if you experience SAD to get a good quality vitmin D supplement. Most multivitamins will have enough vitamin D in them and if you want to go one step further getting an Omega 3 supplement with vitamin D will help support your cells and your hormone balance and neurotransmitters. Increasing your fish and vegetables particularly mushrooms, liver and egg yolks will also help.
I am a firm believer in getting as much as you can though food before supplement but Vitamin D is one of those that is always going to be difficult for the most of us, particularly for those who don’t eat fish or mushrooms (more common than you think!)
Light Therapy – Full spectrum light therapy has an anti-depressive effect in SAD and clinical depression by restoring pineal melatonin synthesis and secretion restablishing circadian rhythm. A friend of mine sent me this link… her Mum uses it once a day and noticed a huge benefit in just a week.
Exercise – Probably the most powerful antidepressant its important to continue to exercise for 30-60mins a day and preferably outside. It may not always be safe to do so if its snowing but even getting out for a short walk can do wonders. The best exercise for improving endorphin’s and thus mood are strength training e.g. weight lifting or aerobics e.g. walking briskly , cycling, jogging to get the heart rate up. Improving heart health has been related to improved mood as much as cardiovascular fitness.
This was one of the main reasons I joined a CrossFit this year. While I am used to a lot of strength training my exercise took a back seat with setting up the business. I committed to training at home with my Kettlebells and going to the gym once or twice a week but training with a group rather than alone can have a mega improvement on your moods. Add in the weight lifting and you got yourself an added bonus. It also forces me to leave the house and get outside even for a minute. I have noticed a huge difference in my moods since doing this and would encourage anyone experiencing SAD to grab a buddy and go do some exercise , a walk in the park, a gym session together, a hike at the weekend anything just get out and do something!
Do you also experience depression during the winter months? If so, please share, especially if you have any tips for boosting your mood!