The winter blues are something many of us struggle with on a yearly basis especially if you live in a colder climate area. Many of us experience a mood shift during the colder, darker days of winter. You may find yourself feeling more lethargic and down overall.
The primary culprit of the winter blues is the lower level of natural sunlight we are exposed to in the fall and winter. Less natural light can cause dips in serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, disruptions in circadian rhythms (your body’s internal clock), which help control sleep-wake cycle, and alterations in melatonin, a hormone associated with both mood and sleep.
We have found a few holistic ways for coping with the winter blues that we wanted to share.
- Get to bed earlier: Getting good quality sleep will help you with both physical and mental stress. Aim to get to bed half an hour earlier than your normal bedtime and see how much of a difference it makes in the morning when you wake up. Turn off all electronics and blue light omitting devices which could hinder your body's ability to relax and get ready for sleep. We like to recommend getting off all electronics 90-120 mins before bed or investing in a pair of blue blocker glasses if you do decide to get on your electronics.
- Listen to upbeat music or motivational podcasts. Good music and a good podcast will definitely help keep your spirits lifted and motivated to conquer the day. Planning the podcast you're going to listen to from the night before helps you avoid any wasted time in the morning figuring out what you want to listen to.
- Save a little money each paycheck for a getaway to somewhere warm and sunny. Traveling during the cold winter months is a great way to get away and get some vitamin D. Instead of spending money on your daily coffee or lunch run, save that money for a nice trip, even if it’s just for a few days. It gives you something to look forward to and keeps you motivated to save!
- Get your vitamin D levels tested. Run some labs to make sure your numbers are within range. Optimal range is between 50-70 ng/dL. If you don’t have access to this, a good way to gauge whether you’re deficient or not is if you can stand outside in the sun for a few hours and get a tan. If you can’t get tan because of where you live then you’re probably vitamin D deficient. Supplementing 30 IUs of vitamin D3 per pound of body weight is gonna help with so many things like mood, depression, and help to boost your immune system.
- Consider supplements like B vitamins, Zinc, Vitamin C, Tyrosine, Tryptophan, 5 HTP or GABA to help boost neurotransmitter function and energy levels. Remember to do your research and consult with a health care professional before taking anything but all these supplements should be able to help with overall mood and energy.