As the days get shorter and the long, dark nights of winter settle in, a lot of people find their mood gets darker, too.
Especially after all the fun and festivities of the holidays are over, many people feel tired, irritable, or a bit down. These feelings are so common that there’s even a name for them: the “winter blues.”
Most people only experience a mild version of the winter blues and can continue living life as normal without too much effort. Others, however, have a more severe type of depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Both are caused by sensitivity to the lack of sunlight from the shorter winter days, which disrupts your body clock and messes with hormone levels.
Let’s go through a few easy to follow in-depth guide to beating winter blues:
Take the Right Supplements: Here’s a look at the top supplements for overcoming winter doldrums.
Fish oil may be the #1 supplement for treating winter depression.
Unless you live in an area where large areas of your skin get some sun exposure all year long, you almost certainly are not getting the vitamin D you need to keep up a positive mood during the winter.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that’s the precursor of the happiness brain chemical serotonin. Research has found tryptophan to be as effective for depression as antidepressant drugs.
Practice Meditation: There are many excellent reasons to meditate and overcoming winter blues is one of them. Dr. Norman Rosenthal is the psychiatrist who pioneered seasonal affective disorder research.
He was the first to describe winter depression, to use the term seasonal affective disorder, and to recommend the use of light therapy for its treatment.
Cross an Item Off Your “To-Do” List: Is there a project or task you’ve been putting off? First, add it to your to-do list. Don’t worry about the size of the task. Even a task as small as clearing out your junk drawer qualifies. Then after you’ve done it, cross it off your list.
Express Gratitude: Get beyond the superficialities and consumerism of the holiday season and reflect on your beliefs as to what the holidays are really about. Doing for others and being grateful is emphasized by all the great religious traditions and spiritual practices.
Expressing gratitude creates a surge of feel-good brain chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. According to gratitude expert Dr. Robert Emmons, gratitude may work by reducing underlying negative emotions such as regret, envy, frustration, and resentment. Several studies show that being grateful reduces the risk of depression.
Clean Up Your Diet: For many of us in the US, the carb fest starts on Halloween and continues through New Year’s Day. It becomes tough to stop. Quitting sugar and refined carbohydrates is not easy and, in fact, the more you eat, the more addictive they become.
There’s evidence that white sugar is as addictive as cocaine and heroin! Eating sugar contributes to mood swings, irritability, and brain fog.
Replace unhealthy processed foods with plenty of vegetables, high-quality protein, and mood-boosting healthy fats like those in nuts, avocados, fatty fish, and coconut in all its forms.