With winter arriving sooner rather than later, many of us are preparing for the long, dark months ahead, where the warmth retreats and we are left to our vices indoors and out of the cold. Many people experience some form of mild depression during this time of the year and it can get as severe as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD which recurs annually and can significantly affect one's daily life.
So, what can you to prevent the winter blues, or beat them at their own game once they've started? Below are 4 lifestyle and supplement suggestions that can make your winter.
1. Embrace the Winter: This might seem counter-intuitive if you aren't all that into winter in the first place, but part of that might just be a lack of participation in winter activities. Try taking up a winter sport like skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, or tobogganing as a fun way to enjoy those crisp winter days. You can also consider something like ice fishing as a fun way to plan winter getaways, or an excursion to the mountains to hit the slopes. Small weekend trips such as these can help break up the long months and add some fun to the mix, plus it's a great way to meet new people and stop the social isolation that normally comes with the cold.
2. Vitamin D3: This incredible supplement is more of a prohormone than a Vitamin as its effect on the entire endocrine system is incredible. A deficiency of Vitamin D3 in northern climates is common especially in the winter months because of a lack of sunshine exposure on the skin and, as such, can result in hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances that negatively affect mood. I recommend taking significant doses of this vitamin to make sure your stores don't get depleted in the winter months.
3. St. John's Wort: This incredible herb has been studied again and again in clinical trials and works so well as a natural antidepressant and balancer of serotonin levels in the brain that it actually interferes with pharmaceutical SSRI prescriptions! If you are taking prescription drugs for depression or mood, it is recommended to stay away from this herb, but for the average bloke or gal, St. John's Wort can have an uplifting effect that carries you and your mood through the dark winter.
4. Balanced Diet: This might seem like an obvious one that has to be followed all year round, but it is especially important to keep on top of in the winter months when our bodies begin to store fat and crave starchy carbohydrates like potatoes and pasta. I'm all for eating with the seasons but consume breads within reason and make sure you're getting enough of the good stuff (leafy greens, fruits, fibres etc) at the same time ! And don't forget your protein as well – the amino acids in protein-rich foods contribute to healthy neurotransmitter production and stable moods so don't underestimate their importance !
Enjoy the winter as best you can and when those first flakes fall, don't forget your intention to embrace this frosty season with all the warmth you can muster!
This article was written by Nakita Valerio, B.A, CSN, BMSA Technician. She has been working for Optimum Health Vitamins since 2007, during which she has gained a deep appreciation and understanding for the complexities of human nutrtition, and has spent hundreds of hours researching the topic. Her current position is online media assistant - a job she currently enjoys from Morocco!
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your physician.