It's Winter. It's cold and it's getting dark before we get off from work. As the pall of seasonal depression set in, the draw to curl up inside, with a blanket and movie, and hide from the winter is getting stronger. True to form, my patients are arriving at my office feeling a little "flatter" than usual. Less likely to smile and finding it harder to keep themselves focussed. The cold just seems to zap your motivation, your mood, and the people you love are noticing... if that sounds like you and just you want to snap out of it, try these three tricks.
Just this weekend past I found myself submitting to the lure of Netflix rather than enjoying the winter lifestyle that is my usual tune. I gave my head a nod when a loved one started repeatedly asking me if I felt well. "Of course! I just don't want to go out." But after two days of hiding inside and going to bed early, I realized I wasn't feeling any better with rest. That's how you know it's a depressive shift by the way - rest and sleep doesn't help.
At any rate, I gave my head a nod and got to work implementing these three strategies to get me out of the winter doldrums. And it's worked!
15-20 minutes per day on your hands and face is all you need to help give your vitamin D levels a lift.
Sometimes it can be hard to get when the gray skies of winter thwart our attempts... so I recommend all my patients who suffer from the winter blues take a Vitamin D supplement from the beginning to the end of daylight savings time. Even Health Canada recommends all Canadians take 400IU of vitamin D per day due to our Northern location and reduced sun exposure across the nation. I dose it higher with my patients who have this challenge. Check with your Naturopathic Doctor if a vitamin D supplement is right for you.
Sometimes the poorer quality of indoor air can have us dragging our feet and our attitudes around. Take that 15-20 minutes I just mentioned and breathe deep babe! Breathe it all in. Breathe it like you mean it!
Getting a fresh flush of oxygen to those suffocating brain cells can perk you up quicker than you might expect! Neurons with fresh and ample supply of oxygen are happier and function more quickly and clearly. I often recommend my patients take 100 deep breaths per day. In the winter, if seasonal depression is a challenge for you, take some of these breaths outside or by an open window.
As an aside, most people don't know how to take a deep breath using their diaphragm and open up their entire lower lung fields. HINT - if you take a deep breath and your shoulders lift, you're doing it wrong. :)
Finally, make an effort to move that body of yours! Usually 15-20 mins is enough to lift your mood, but if you're already moving, you might as well keep going until you've got your 30 minutes in for the day.
And you only need 30 minutes at a minimum. Anyone can do that.
You're not done until you are smiling and giggling at least a little bit. Getting your blood moving is often enough to reset your outlook on the day.
That's it. What's awesome is that you can do all three at the same time too.
If you try these strategies for the next three days and your seasonal depression doesn't lift, I invite you to reach out via email or book an appointment. I understand and I can help. It's so easy to give into the "I Hate Winter" attitude, but don't! Winter can be an enjoyable time if you embrace the winter-y lifestyle and sports.
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