During the winter months do you:
Have an increased appetite or find yourself eating more?
Have intense cravings for carbs and sugar?
Feel apathetic, unmotivated and even depressed?
Have a particularly hard time losing weight?
If you had a lot of “Yes’s”, sounds like you’ve got a case of the Winter Blues, often referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD!
Winter in New England is the time of year when the days are shorter, there’s less sunlight, the temperatures are colder and we often feel more socially isolated and even DEPRESSED! 🙁
What do you do if you can’t relocate to Hawaii or Florida?
Here’s the good news: There are actually several natural, easy and effective things you can do to help combat the negative symptoms of the Winter Blues so you can go from feeling SAD to GLAD almost immediately!
6 Tips for Avoiding the Winter Blues
Get Adequate Natural, Full-Spectrum Light
Light Therapy is the #1 remedy for SAD!
Even though it may be cold out, bundle up and make it a priority to get outside, even for just 15 minutes a day so you can be exposed to sunlight which increases your serotonin (the “Happy Hormone”), Vitamin D (which is KEY for avoiding colds and the Flu and improving your immune health), and melatonin (which is important for restful sleep). If your schedule doesn’t allow for this, consider purchasing a full spectrum illumination lamp that you can put on your desk or somewhere in your home.
Yup, you knew it was comin’: No doubt about it, EXERCISE to feel better!
Getting your body moving increases blood flow, helps eliminate toxins and clear your mind; yet most importantly it increases endorphins- the neurotransmitters that make you feel good! Think of endorphins as nature’s Prozac but better- no side effects!! You can get a double whammy and do some activity outside where you’re exposed to natural light and sunshine and then you’re really talking!
Get Your Body Rhythm
We are creatures of nature and part of the bigger natural cycle of life. That’s why it’s crucial to harmonize your lifestyle with the season. I know, it’s hard to do in our Go-Go culture, but if you are serious about feeling good and having good energy you’ll be wise to make it a priority.
Synchronize your circadian rhythm’s (your body’s natural “clock”) with nature. The more you adapt your schedule to the cycle of the sun- the sunrise and sunset, the better you will feel. At night (3 hours before bed) AVOID bright lights, computer screens, and big screen TV’s. This artificial light disrupts the pineal gland in the brain that produces melatonin (the sleepy hormone). So use candles and dimmers after sunset or certainly 2 – 3 hours before bedtime. You’ll be amazed at the difference this can make.
Winter is the season where all of nature is in a hibernation mode so why should we humans be any different?
This is the season to GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO DO LESS AND VEG-OUT MORE! Not feeling guilty about relaxing, having down-time, slacking off and my personal favorite, taking NAPS is not only OK right now but extremely important and healthy!! It’s dark and cold outside for a reason! Take your queue from nature. All of nature is doing so why shouldn’t you?
Avoid (or at least minimize) Sugar
Everyone knows that sugar is no good for you and leads to increased cravings and weight gain but it’s important to remember that just one teaspoon of sugar can depress your immune system for up to 4 hours– leaving your more susceptible to colds, flu and viruses.
Moreover, after the initial rush, it also zaps your moods, leaving you lower than before. What a cruel trick! But you can have your cake and eat it too! Instead of sugar, you can use safe and delicious naturally sugar-free alternatives to sugar like Stevia and Lakanto.
6. Be Sure to Have a Source of Fun/Joy in Your Life
This is a key underlying principle for everything. So often we think of our diet and exercise program when it comes to our health and we overlook and minimize the importance of having something (or even someone) in our lives that is a regular source of pleasure, support, enrichment and love.
Whether it be a favorite hobby, pet, church group or just talking regular walks outside in nature, be sure you have something that feeds your soul and enriches your spirit, and then be sure to fight tooth and nail to make it a constant in your life.
The Mind-Body Connection is CRITICAL to lasting health and well being. Until we get that right, we will always have the “blues” regardless of what time of year it is!
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