Melt Away Your Winter Woes

winter woes

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Melt Away Your Winter Woes

It’s normal to feel more sluggish and down in the winter

● It’s body chemistry
○ Wintertime can affect levels of Vitamin D and melatonin
○ You may feel slower in the winter because of the extra energy your body is using to stay warm

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

● A type of depression that hits people around the same time every year
○ It usually starts in the fall and lasts into winter
○ It’s treated with light therapy, psychotherapy and medication
● 20% of Americans suffer from seasonal mood changes
● SAD is more common in women and those who have depression or a family history of depression
● Symptoms include depressions, feelings of hopelessness, feelings of heaviness in your limbs, weight gain and loss of interest in things you once enjoyed

How do you fight off wintertime weariness?

● Cold weather and snow can make working out hard, but exercise releases feel-good chemicals in your brain, endorphins, that will help to lift your mood
● If it seems too hard to work out, set yourself goals and reward yourself for meeting them
○ Buy yourself a new sweater if you run a mile every day in a week
● In the wintertime, you can shift your exercise indoors
○ Try taking a class at a local gym
■ Dance, kickboxing, yoga

Watch what you eat
● Avoid foods that are fatty or sugary
○ These foods can have a high impact on you blood sugar level and leave you feeling cranky
● Look for foods with omega-3 fatty acids, good carbs (whole grains and veggies), protein and B vitamins
○ Oatmeal for breakfast is a good choice because it contains fiber-rich whole grains that increase serotonin – another feel-good chemical in the brain
○ Look for salmon, a food high in omega-3
○ Foods such as fortified tofu, cheese and shellfish are rich in B Vitamins, which help fight depression

Embrace winter
● Winter has a lot to offer that you can choose to enjoy
○ Hot chocolate
○ Warm sweaters
○ Department store sales
○ You don’t have to shave your legs (females) or beard (males)

Don’t hibernate
● Because humans are social creatures, getting together and socializing automatically boosts our moods
● The more you let yourself stay home alone, the more you will wallow
○ Make weekend plans with friends
○ Go out to dinner once a week
● If you stay in all winter, then by the time spring comes all of your friends will have moved on without you

Plan your summer vacation
● Even if you can’t take a trip in the winter, planning a warm-weather trip will give you something to look forward to
○ Planning a vacation months in advance will also give you plenty of time to save money, relieving some stress

Soak up the sun
● The body produces Vitamin D when exposed to UVB light from the sun
● During winter, we aren’t outside very much and the sun’s rays aren’t strong enough to give us all the light we need
● If you’re feeling very sluggish, you may be experiencing a Vitamin D deficiency
○ Light also suppresses the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone
■ Less light exposure means more melatonin, making you sleepier throughout the day
○ Consider investing in a light box to get more UVB exposure
● Reduced sunlight can also mess with your body’s circadian rhythms – the internal clock – confusing it so it doesn’t know when it should be awake or asleep
● Tip: Try opening your windows as soon as you wake up to soak up sunlight at one of the best times of day

Winter Woes


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