If you begin feeling sluggish and gloomy as the seasons change and days grow shorter, you are not alone. Many people deal with a little Winter Blues every year during the colder months. That is especially true for those who live in areas where it gets dark much earlier during the fall and winter. Studies have concluded that taking a little extra care of yourself during these months can significantly assist with energy levels and mood regulation.
If symptoms don’t go away or go beyond mild, it may be time to see your doctor. You may have a condition known as “seasonal affective disorder,” or SAD. If not treated, it can be a debilitating medical condition. If you have difficulty functioning, doing your regular daily routine, or sad and hopeless feelings that last for an extended amount of time, you should see a doctor.
What are the Winter Blues?
Winter Blues usually begin late fall or early winter and last until the days get longer again in the spring or early summer. Some of the symptoms you may experience with the Winter Blues include:
- Weight gain
- Feeling sluggish and agitated or moody
- Losing interest in activities you usually enjoy doing
- Difficulty concentrating
Eating a healthy diet is essential for the body in many aspects, including good mental health. Eating a healthy diet helps your brain produce more serotonin, which is a chemical that helps enhance mood and gives you a better overall feeling of well-being. Serotonin is also called a happy chemical and for a good cause. Some of the foods that assist your body with producing the feel-good chemicals are below.
Probiotics such as yogurt
The probiotic bacteria found in yogurt helps ensure a healthy gut. Studies have shown a healthy gut may help with feelings of melancholy or moodiness.
The carbohydrates found in whole grains trigger the brain to produce more serotonin. We already know from earlier that serotonin is the happy chemical that will help lift your mood.
Leafy greens like spinach have tryptophan, which is excellent for our brains. Eating these veggies will help increase the chemicals our brain produces and improve our overall frame-of-mind.
Avocados are known as a superfood. They are full of nutrients including, Omega-3, tryptophan, and folate, all of which help the brain produce more serotonin.
Fish- Salmon or Tuna
When days are short, and you aren’t getting much sunlight, your body has trouble producing vitamin D. Salmon and Tuna are fatty fish and a significant vitamin D source. This vitamin supports a healthy immune system, among many other things. When you feel good and healthy, you’re generally in a better mood.
Spend Time Outside
Spending time outside every day allows our bodies to absorb vitamin D naturally from sunlight. The vitamin helps regulate mood, which helps when you are feeling a little down.
Stay Close to Supportive Family and Friends
Supportive family and friends can help a great deal when you are feeling down in the dumps. Spend time with loved ones you can talk with comfortably. You’d be surprised at how much a great conversation with a person you love can help lift your spirit.
Regular physical activity helps shake the sluggish feeling, which in turn can help with lifting your mood. Moving and exercising helps your body release endorphins and other chemicals that help with mood regulation and overall well-being.
Sometimes turning on your favorite tunes can do wonders. Studies have shown that music lifts mood and helps with symptoms of anxiety and depression. It also helps with motivation and productivity. Next time you’re doing chores around the house, try cranking up the radio and see how much that helps. The change of seasons is out of our control, but our mood doesn’t have to be. If you’re feeling down during the winter months, adding more self-care into your daily routine can help you immensely. However, please keep in mind that if symptoms go beyond mild or last for an extended period, you should see a doctor. It may be more serious than the typical Winter Blues, and they can diagnose and help you.