If your winter cheer disappeared after the holidays and your days seem a bit blue, you are not alone. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or the winter blues, hits hard this time of year when the colder days and longer nights set in.
The dreary weather and lack of natural light dims your motivation and alters your circadian rhythm, leaving you low on serotonin—a mood-boosting hormone. In addition, lack of sunlight reduces your vitamin D production, which plays a key role in your body’s immune health.
It’s estimated that over 15 million people suffer from SAD, which has symptoms that include low energy, carb cravings, weight gain, and low sex drive. If you feel your mood may be affected by the winter days, here are a few things you can do to brighten your spirits.
Light Up Your Morning
Researchers tell us light is an important part of your morning because it turns off your sleep hormones and turns on your good mood hormones. Try to each breakfast in a well-lit place in your home. Natural light should hit your table, walls, and everything that surrounds you. If you cannot get natural sunlight into your home due to weather, use white light bulbs instead of yellow or golden ones.
Exercise is one of the best ways to boost feel-good hormones and energize your day. The effects of a good workout can last several hours into your day and provided a much need elevation in your metabolism.
Eat a Variety of Healthy Foods
In the winter it’s easy to reach for those comfort foods to keep you warm and happy. But a balanced diet will help keep your body in check and your mood happy. If produce is sparse in your area this time of year, try to eat foods that are seasonal.
Get Out More
Get in the sunshine when it’s possible and go out with friends to social events. Being around others will increase your mood and hopefully evoke a few laughs.
Getting a massage, taking a relaxation course, or dipping into a hot bath will boost serotonin and dopamine levels. Treat yourself to something nice at least once a week. It doesn’t have to be fancy—just something that puts a smile on your face.
How do you deal with the winter blues? Share below!