It’s about that time again.
It is the middle of January and there isn’t a single green leaf in sight. Getting out of bed is the most difficult time of day. You feel angry, sad and distant. I am guilty of seasonal depression and I hate it. It is tough to get to work and even go to social gatherings with friends. I dread the thought of making plans, since I usually cancel them anyway. All I want to do is sit on my couch and watch Dr. Phil or Food Network.
Seasonal affective disorder affects many people across the globe, from children to adults. It is normal. It is our body’s reaction to the shorter, darker days. Sunlight activates the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, making us happy. Consequently, when there is not as much sun in the winter, we do not feel as happy or excited to conquer the day.
Since, we can not hide in the winter months, we need to find ways to beat SAD. Here are some tips on how to beat it nutritionally.
Exercise is great for improving symptoms of depression. Not only can it boost confidence, but it can increase energy levels and distract your brain from focusing on the dark winter months. You can do anything from lifting to cardio. High intensity interval training has been shown to give the greatest mood boost.
When I am stuck inside, I enjoy workout videos. My favorite site is Fitnessblender.com. You can choose what type of workout you would like to do, what equipment you have and how long you would like to work out for.
Since you are not receiving as much Vitamin D from sunlight, it is important to get it in other ways. Decreased Vitamin D levels can trigger poor sleep and mood. You can easily take a Vitamin D3 supplement or eat more foods that contain Vitamin D.
Foods that are high in Vitamin D:
Fish (Salmon, trout and tuna)
A deficiency in Vitamin B12 is related to decreased energy levels and mood swings. Fortunately, it is easy to supplement and consume in foods. It is hard to get in vegetables, so it is important to take a Vitamin B12 supplement when you are vegan or vegetarian.
Foods that are high in Vitamin B12:
Decrease sugar intake
Sugar can increase energy levels and make you happy for a short period before crashing. During the winter months, you may crave carbs and sugar, which can force your body to feel more moody in the end. It is important to focus on eating a healthy diet, especially in the winter. Focusing on vegetables, fruit, protein and healthy fats can help beat Seasonal depression.
accomplishing tasks and small goals keeps your mind focused on motivating yourself. Completing a goal, big or small, gives your brain a boost of dopamine, one of chemical hormones that makes you happy. So make a to do list or sign up for a race, to keep yourself motivated during these cold months of the year.