Beat the Winter Blues

Hemlock Tree- East Hampton MA Oct 12

It’s already the second week into November and we’re about to get into the holiday season. The days are growing shorter and with the time change, it’s getting dark a lot earlier.

I don’t know about you, but in the winter I’m ready to go to bed early and it’s harder to get up while it’s dark out (and cold in the house). The shorter days and colder temps means staying in a lot more.

I know many people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), even if it’s just mild. If you suffer from this (which I imagine we all do to some degree), it’s better to start remedying now than in February.

There are some things we can do to help combat SAD and it’s not hard with conscious effort.

  1. Light therapy

This is one of the best treatments since the main reason we can get SAD is due to the shorter window of sunlight. Light therapy is done by exposing yourself to a certain type of artificial light 15-30 minutes daily, usually in the morning to avoid sleep problems. There are a lot of different therapy lights on the market. You basically just sit in front of the light for your eyes to absorb it. Do more research or ask your physician about light therapy before considering using it.

To help with light therapy, try to take some time in the mornings to look out a window or stand outside and absorb as much light as you can. Doing this early in the day will create benefits that last throughout the day.

2. Exercise

Of course we should exercise all seasons of the year, but it’s probably more important in the winter months. Cold temperatures keeps us inside more and potentially less active. Exercise produces feel-good chemicals that are ever more important if we suffer from SAD. Even doing some light body weight exercise or yoga is beneficial. Sweating it out at the gym a few times a week or walking daily is ideal.

There are a lot of free yoga class websites. One is www.doyogawithme.com

For fitness workouts: www.fitnessblender.com

Jade Yoga mats are my favorite

3. Vitamin D Supplementation

We get Vitamin D from the sun, and in the winter we got a lot less of it. For one, the sun’s rays are weaker than they are in the summer. Also, in winter we’re covered up in warm clothes. So, a vitamin D supplement may be in order. Vitamin D affects our mood, bone health, and immunity.

Vit D is pretty inexpensive to purchase. Consult your doctor or research what’s right for you before starting to take it. I take it in liquid form because its easier for me. In the winter I take between 3,000-6,000 IU per day.

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4. Get Outside

Getting outside will help with all three of these above (light, exercise, and vitamin D). Even just going on a short walk around the neighborhood, or strolling around the yard can help.

  • If you have a dog, take it on a walk.
  • If you have an interesting winter garden (yay for you!), get out and look closer at it.
  • If it’s really cold, go on a car ride with some scenery.

5. Keep On Eating Healthy

Just because there’s Thanksgiving and Christmas, doesn’t mean we can’t eat healthy between those holidays! Eat plenty of vegetables and some fruits.

6. Other Helpful Hints

While these 5 may be the most helpful, there are some smaller things we can do that could make a difference.

  • Open the curtains, let some sunshine in the house.
  • Decorate the house for the winter. Add bright pillows and decorative lighting. Burn a candle.
  • Use essential oils in the home and bath.
  • Keep a journal.
  • Have a winter hobby that keeps you focused on doing something fun.
  • Get out and join a new club.
  • Reach out for help if things get to be too much.
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