What about you?
We are right into the winter months here where I live – it’s cold! And, as the days get shorter and colder, even the best of us can feel a little down.
“Winter blues” is a general term that describes the mild depression, lack of motivation and low energy that many people experience when the weather turns nasty.
It’s actually fairly common, and usually fades when spring is on the horizon – but there are some simple actions you can take to boost your mood and health while waiting for the warmer weather.
Fly though winter with a smile on your face!
Don’t stop exercising just because it’s cold. A brisk walk can do wonders to lift your mood, warm you up and make you feel alive. You’ll have more energy during the day, your brain will release more “feel good” chemicals and exercise is a great stress reliever. Put on warm clothing and get out and enjoy the fresh air.
2. Get a Little Sun
Yes, it can be scarce. But when it does appear from behind those clouds, go outside and soak up the rays. Sunshine makes you feel good, warms your heart and soul and boosts your Vitamin D. During winter your Vitamin D levels will drop, and getting natural sunlight can boost your stores, but if you are testing low for Vitamin D, it’s advisable to take a supplement during the winter months. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for immune function as well as protecting you against disease.
3. Eat Healthy
The cold weather, added with feelings of low energy and low mood, can cause us to crave carbohydrates, especially the bad ones high in sugar. Don’t be a slave to your cravings. What and when you eat is important to keep your blood sugar stabilised which will have a positive effect on your mood, your energy and your brain function. Winter is the best time for highly nutritious soups, curries and one-pot stews. Break out the slow cooker and get inventive with your ingredients. Use fresh herbs liberally, and don’t forget the garlic. And save time in the kitchen – cook once, eat twice.
4. Get Social and Treat Yourself
Winter can sometimes seem endless and your motivation can disappear quicker than your healthy resolutions. Plan regular events, trips away, social get-togethers etc that will give you something to look forward to. Nurture yourself with regular massages or perhaps it’s time to book that retreat you’ve always wanted to do. Mood always improves when we have something to look forward to. Try not to hibernate but make an effort to upgrade your social calendar to include some wintry activities.
5. Keep to a Routine
Nothing will affect your mood and energy more than having your body clock out of whack. Even though the sun doesn’t come up as early, it’s essential that you keep to your normal waking routine, even on weekends. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting your normal bio-rhythms out of sync and the fall out will be sleep difficulties at night and fatigue during the day.
6. Winter Essentials
Revisit your supplements. Having immune booster herbs such as Echinacea or Astragalus are essential to keep you on top of colds and flu. And, don’t forget Elderberry which has proven anti-viral activity. A Vitamin B complex is also a good idea as we do tend to use up more of these nutrients when we are feeling low. Stock up on zinc and vitamin C and remember vitamin D.
7. St Johns Wort
If you’re finding that you just can’t get on top of your low mood, St Johns Wort has proven therapeutic benefit in mild to moderate depression. It might be just the support you need in the short term to get you up and going again. But, please get professional advice as it is contraindicated with some medications.
Some simple tips to get you through winter.
With your health in mind,
Like this? Get more great health tips, recipes and lifestyle inspiration from iNaturally by subscribing to the iNaturally Newsletter here www.inaturally.com.au
Catherine McCoy is a Naturopath, Health Coach, Writer and Speaker who is the founder of iNaturally Clinic in Canberra. Catherine helps women get a handle on their stress, anxiety, depression and overwhelm so they can regain their health and re-connect with their passion and purpose.
Get your health back on track and create the change in your thinking and lifestyle to be the healthiest and happiest person possible. Contact Catherine for more information.