How To Combat SAD, or the Winter Blues
The “winter blues” is something that affects many of us and sometimes we aren’t even aware of it. Symptoms like tiredness, lethargy and stress are often attributed to ‘the weather’, or ‘having an off day’, but winter depression is a recognized condition. This is also known as the ‘winter blues’, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and it is caused by a lack of sunlight during the winter. The condition is very common in the northern hemisphere.
Good Nutrition Breaks Through Depression
A good diet and nutritional routine is important all year round, but fighting off the winter blues requires a little bit of extra nutritional attention. First of all, never skip meals. Breakfast is essential if the brain is to work correctly; it cannot do so without fuel. Having lunch gets you through the afternoon sleepiness and can reduce dinnertime over-eating.
A whole food diet which includes fruits and vegetables of all colors, nuts and fish, will supply B vitamins and amino acids which keep the body and brain in good working order during winter. Fast food, although comforting and convenient at times, often contains far too much fat, carbohydrates and sugar, and will not give the body that ‘feel good’ factor for very long, and will in most cases leave behind an even worse feeling of lethargy and poor nutritional fullness.
Vitamins Can Fight Depression
Stress and depression use up huge quantities of vitamin C within the body. Many animals make their own supply of this vitamin, but humans cannot. For example, the goat can alter its rate of vitamin C production according to the amount of stress it is under, or its general health. Humans need to increase vitamin C intake during times when the body is under stress.
Vitamin C can also stop viruses from dividing inside cells, so it helps the fight against things like the common cold and ‘flu’. These viruses tend to attack when resistance is low, so it is essential to replenish vitamin C supplies daily. Fresh fruits and vegetables and supplements are beneficial here.
B vitamins are also depression fighters. Scientists found that people with depression do better when they had high levels of vitamin B12 in their blood. B-complex vitamins are essential to mental and emotional well-being. They cannot be stored in our bodies, so we depend entirely on our daily diet to supply them. B vitamins are destroyed by alcohol, refined sugars, nicotine, and caffeine so it is no surprise that many people may be deficient in these.
Sunlight is something the body needs. It helps our bodies generate Vitamin D. And studies show that Vitamin D deficiency provides a compelling explanation for seasonal variations in mood. Make sure and supplement your Vitamin D if you are not getting much sun.
Tips for Lifting The Winter Blues
Apart from attention to diet, there are a number of other ways that can help to relieve the winter blues. Keeping a good sense of humor and try to have a little fun, (not always easy to do!), and rest and relaxation also play a big part in combating the blues. An active mind and body, usually results in a health mind and body!
Time should be made available for hobbies and talking to friends, and simplifying daily life as much as possible to stop things from mounting up and adding to the pressure and stress. We know it’s tough but, just taking the time to look around and see your surroundings can be spiritually lifting.
Alcohol, nicotine, or other non-prescription and even over use of prescription drugs, may seem to give some relief, but this is only temporary and cannot stop depression. In addition, these can rob your body of important vitamins. In addition, caffeine can have the same effect on the body as high levels of stress, so it is advisable to lower intake of caffeine products.
Most importantly, if the sun comes out from behind the clouds in that wintry sky, go outside. Tests have shown that just twenty minutes of winter sunshine can help lift the moods and alleviate the symptoms associated with he winter blues.
So do your best to get regular exercise and nutritional supplements. I know when I stick with my vitamin routine and exercise even 30 minutes – I do in fact feel better about everything.
We hope this helps,