Shorter days, more time spent cooped up inside and flu season… Winter doesn’t sound too thrilling, does it? In addition, lack of sunshine can have a big effect on your mood and physical health. Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons - affects an estimated 10 million Americans each year.
It is important that individuals find ways to prevent catching a dose of the winter blues. All forms of depression limit people’s ability to live their life to the fullest, enjoy time spent with family and function well at work. This winter, be sure to stay mindful of these tips in order to combat feelings of seasonal depression and embrace optimal winter wellness!
Catch Some Extra Z’s: With the shorter, cooler days and longer nights, our bodies naturally need more sleep. A sleep-deprived body is more susceptible to illness. Make it a goal to get to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual during the winter months. Don’t stimulate your brain late at night. Plenty of rest and relaxation is key!
Create a Healthy Living Environment: You will be spending most of your time indoors, so creating a healthy living environment is must. Put on your favorite play list, open the curtains to bring in some natural light, clean out clutter and get organized!
Fresh Air is the Best Air: Bundle up and take a walk at least once a day. A quick 10-15 minute walk is better than nothing and can make all the difference in refreshing your body and mind. Not only is it good for replenishing your vitamin D needs (a key nutrient that aids our immune system and that most people become deficient in during the winter), but it also gets you out of the house!
Winter Workout: Exercise naturally supports a healthy mood and energy levels. Believe it or not, a regular workout routine is actually a prime booster for your immunity. If it’s too icy or snow covered to enjoy a jog or walk outdoors; consider joining a gym, or taking a yoga class at Sand Hills Wellness Center instead! http://sandhillswellness.wixsite.com/sandhillswellness/yoga-judo
Stay Social & Fun: The dreary winter months can naturally cause people to turn inward and be more isolated. Make it a priority to stay social! Plan a date with friends or invite some family members over to hang out, talk and keep spirits high.
Eat Right: Many people increase carbohydrate and sugar intake during the winter months, which can compromise the immune system. Instead, focus on eating an abundance of protein, fruits and vegetables. Foods from the earth are best! Plan to cook warm dishes, like soups, stews and curries. Don’t be afraid to spice up those meals with some ginger, cinnamon, cayenne and turmeric.
Wash Your Hands: This advice is so simple that people often forget its importance. Washing your hands throughout the day is important to staying healthy. It can also help stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout the entire community. It’s one of the easiest, most effective ways to avoid getting sick!
If You Get Sick: Try a spicy liquid diet. Drink hot water with lemon, cayenne and maple syrup. Eat citrus like it’s going out of style and get plenty of rest!
Stay Positive: Fatigue, irritability, depression, anxiety, and even physical discomfort can result from the changing of the seasons. The best way to overcome feelings of sadness in the winter months is to follow the above tips and remember: it’s mind over matter. Acknowledge your thoughts and replace the unhealthy ones with a happy thought. Always practice gratitude. Lastly, do at least one activity you love every day in order to chase those winter blues away!
*Be sure to join Suppers Program at Sand Hills Community Wellness Center on Friday, January 27th from 6:30pm – 8:30 pm for a fun and informative cooking demonstration with a topic focusing on Seasonal Depression. This is a great way to get out of the house, socialize with others and learn about what foods are best for staying happy and healthy through the winter season and beyond!