Every year around this time, I get the winter blues. I have never been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a type of depression that occurs during the same season each year, but I am pretty sure I am a candidate. I start feeling down after the holidays and feel much better when spring rolls around. I have read a lot about the possible causes, symptoms, and treatments of SAD in the past few years, and today, I wanted to share a few tips and ideas that aid and relieve me along the way and I hope this post can help some of you who may struggle with seasonal depression.
I think the most important advice I would give someone who suffers from seasonal depression is to get outside EVERY day for at least 30 minutes. The natural light you get outside, even on a gloomy winter day, is much more intense than the light coming through a window. Sitting under a light box indoors and/or replacing light bulbs with full spectrum ones is also beneficial. The warm glow of candlelight in the evenings has also lifted my spirits countless times.
I always try to be in tune with my body and listen to what it wants to eat and in the winter, I am craving fish, eggs, and orange juice! I always wondered why until I realized that all of these foods are high in vitamin D, which is the sunshine vitamin. Foods high in vitamin D and omega-3s are usually what I am craving and eating during the winter.
Adding vitamin D supplement to my daily regimen has given me noticeable results. Other supplements that I would recommend for fighting seasonal depression are fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and St. John’s wort.
4. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
We all know that physical activity is an amazing mood booster and moderate and enjoyable exercise are definitely the keywords for me during the winter. My body is also more achy during the cold season and stretching every day has helped me feel better inside and out.
I found that a great way to fight depression is to boost pleasure. Taking the time to read a book and sip a cup of herbal tea can really help chase the winter blues away. Lots of TLC and pampering are in order this season!
Most of us in “modern” societies don’t live our lives according to the rhythm of the seasons. Winter is a season for rest, recovery, introspection, and reflection and we are reluctant to embrace a slower and quieter pace. I like to take my cues from nature and having spent many years gardening, I know that the dormant season is vital for plant survival and for a successful growing season.
A lot of us who live in rural communities can feel more isolated during the winter season. Maintaining social connection is very important and can soften the effects of winter depression.
I am a huge believer in aromatherapy to treat a variety of ailments. To fight depression, I like to diffuse essential oils of lavender, ylang ylang, bergamot, chamomille, jasmine, geranium, which all have mood boosting properties.
Houseplants have amazing health benefits from purifying the air to improving mental health and surrounding yourself with greenery this winter can really help ward off depression.
In January, we are often focused on decluttering our homes but often neglect to look inward. Are there any other underlying reasons for feeling depressed? Sometimes meditation and journal writing can help us find some answers…
I hope this was helpful to you and please don’t hesitate to add any other tips and ideas you might have in the comment box below.
Greetings from Kingsbury Brook Farm!
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