How to Deal with the Long, Dark Days of Winter

In the wintertime, the days are short with the sun setting before you get home from work or school.  Add to this the days that are cloudy and you have a winter that can be depressing.  If the winter weather is getting you down, here are some things that you can do:

  •  Supplement with Vitamin D:  This is an important hormone that your body makes in your skin when it is exposed to sunlight.  Some of the important things that vitamin D can affect are mood, the immune system, calcium absorption, heart health, and fertility. Check with your health care provider before starting supplementation (Vitamin D is a hormone, and too much or too little can cause problems).
  • Exercise: A solid exercise regimen has been show to be as effective as anti-depressant medications (SSRIs) in decreasing the symptoms of depression.  A fun way to incorporate exercise is to join a local community sports team or find some other form of exercise that you enjoy doing like hiking, cycling, skiing, or swimming. 
  • Replace Deficient Nutrients:  There are quite a few nutritional factors that can set somebody up for depression.  These include inadequate protein intake, and deficiencies in vitamin C, B-vitamins, folic acid, essential fatty acids, or trace minerals.  Women who are taking birth control pills can have lower levels of the above nutrients because they are used up during the metabolism of the hormones.  Deficiencies of the above nutrients can also affect the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain, as well as the production of energy in the body. You can be tested to determine which specific nutrients you may be deficient or sub-optimal in.
  • Meditate. Meditation has been shown to improve mood, decrease inflammation and normalize stress hormones. A simple act of closing your eyes for 1 minute with deep breaths has major benefits! 
Posted on January 11, 2015 .