Are the shorter days and colder weather leaving you feeling blue? Winter is coming and with the lack of sunlight comes the winter blues, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Common symptoms of SAD include: sadness, irritability, lack of interest in work and social activities, increased appetite, weight gain, increased sleep and decreased energy.
Here’s 3 natural ways to boost your mood this winter and prevent feeling SAD:
1. Supplement with vitamin D: Less sunlight means less vitamin D production in your body. Vitamin D is required for a positive mood and supplementation has been shown to improve symptoms of depression. Speak to your naturopathic doctor for the appropriate dose of vitamin D required for your individual health situation. Increased vitamin D can also be obtained from eggs and vitamin D enriched foods like milk products and orange juice.
2. Supplement with an omega-3 fatty acid supplement: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for your nervous system and mood regulation benefiting symptoms of depression. They are commonly found in fish, seafood, and flaxseeds. Therefore including these foods in your diet can be helpful to prevent a deficiency. However, if you do suffer from SAD and other mood disorders a much higher therapeutic dose is required to produce an improvement in your symptoms. Speak to your naturopathic doctor for the appropriate dose of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.
3. Get out there and exercise! Exercise boosts your mood and increases the amount of endorphins (the happiness hormones) in your body. There are many fun outdoor winter activities to take advantage of such as skating, snowshoeing, cross country or downhill skiing and snowboarding. If these don’t interest you, investigate options for continuing your favourite summer activities indoors. Of course, there is always the gym and an unlimited amount of other exercise options available so figure out what you enjoy doing, get out there and move!
It is important to remember that the symptoms of SAD overlap with the symptoms of other health conditions such as major depressive disorder and hypothyroidism so it is always important to see your primary healthcare provider to have your symptoms investigated thoroughly. It is also best to see them before starting any new supplements to make sure there are no interactions with medications you may be on.
Hopefully these tips leave you feeling happier this winter season!
Feel free to share your thoughts and other tips for preventing the winter blues 🙂