Beat the winter blues

Beat the winter blues

It’s natural to have mood swings in response to the ups and downs of life, but in winter, it’s even more common. Perhaps it’s the cold weather and the short, dark days?

There is actually a health condition called SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – where people suffer depression, anxiety or the general blues at the same time each year. It often starts during winter and ends in spring.

It could be the ‘hibernation’ factor - cold weather makes us less socially and physically active. We’re less inclined to go outdoors during winter, and don’t partake in as many of activities we would enjoy during summer – especially in Australia! 

Don’t let winter put you down in the dumps!

There are many things you can do to maintain your energy and vitality throughout winter and the rest of the year too! 

Here are a few simple things you might try:

Get some sleep – Most people need between 6-9 hours of sleep each night. Many studies show that people who consistently get less than 7 or 8 hours sleep each night are more likely to feel stressed, angry, mentally exhausted and have less ability to concentrate than those who do. 

Enjoy the sunlight – Vitamin D deficiency is linked to anxiety and depression, and Vitamin D is often recommended for seasonal anxieties. You can obtain Vitamin D through oily fish, and also through direct exposure to sunlight. During winter, when you see a patch of sunshine, get under it - it may brighten your mood as well as the day! 

Omega 3 – Often called ‘brain food’ or ‘mood food’ Omega 3 is frequently associated with improved learning, behaviour and concentration.  You can obtain Omega 3 from salmon, mackerel and sardines, although many people choose to supplement their Omega 3 intake – especially during the winter months.

Exercise – The connection between exercise and increased endorphins – happy hormones – is well known.  Endorphins trigger positive emotions, improve our response to stress and help reduce feelings of pain. Many studies show exercise can help reduce stress, high blood pressure, and improve sleep – all of which add to a better mood!   

Eat well – Too many sugary, processed and fatty foods contribute to tired, sluggish feelings and metabolism. Foods high in magnesium and B Complex vitamins support nerve function and can improve mood. High protein foods also help as do low-GI carbohydrates. Try leafy greens, almonds, cashews, walnuts and whole grains like oats and brown rice.  

Supplement - Vitamin B, Vitamin D and magnesium are most commonly associated with improved energy and mood. Products like Bee Pollen and Royal Jelly are excellent for this purpose because they naturally contain Vitamin B, D and magnesium, and are also high in protein for increased energy.

There’s no need to be down this winter! Sleep, sunlight and exercise plus the right vitamins and minerals will put a spring back into your step!