The chilly weather has really set in, and the days of seeing the sun are scarce. A lot of times the weather has a lot of power to impact our mood. Sometimes cloudy days are nice here and there, but when they’re consistent and appearing to be never ending, the winter blues may have set in.
So how do you know if you’re experiencing the winter blues, or it is something more serious? Winter blues is sadness during the fall and winter months, with trouble sleeping, and a lack of motivation. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is when you have severe sadness during the fall and winter months, frequent sleep and eating trouble, and depression that limits normal functioning and motivation. If you believe your symptoms fall under the category of SAD or you’re not sure, I urge you to reach out for professional help.
We all experience sadness at points within our lives, but when days seem bleaker, and our motivation is lacking, we may be dealing with the winter blues. Remember that having these emotions are normal, they make us human after all.
So, what makes this so difficult? Day light is lessened so if you’re working in a building all day and go home and it’s already dark, it may be impacting you. Our bodies desire sunlight to help keep us awake which can help our mental health, in months where days our shortened, this becomes more of a challenge.
What can help?
During the months when it’s dark more than there is daylight, the melatonin in our body can increase. Melatonin is created to help us fall asleep, but if our bodies are creating melatonin at abnormal times making us more tired than usual, maybe try a sun lamp. The sun lamp acts as the sun and reduces the production of melatonin within your body during these darker days. This can help with both winter blues and seasonal affective disorder, if you try this and it doesn’t help, consider reaching out to someone to find what works best for you.
Vitamin D supplement
Our bodies get vitamin D from the sun. In those places where we get less sunlight during the winter, our bodies may become deficient in vitamin D. To combat this, look into taking a supplement, you can talk to your doctor about what kind of supplement would be best for you. A combination of exercise, diet, and supplements can help you avoid vitamin D deficiency in the winter months. Even better, there are also vitamin D sunlamps that act as the sun to help increase vitamin D levels in the body, it emits UVB light to help your body make vitamin D.
Some other things you can do:
· Keep active—stay doing activites that get your heart rate up to combat these winter blues
· Try and see the natural daylight—get outside, if possible, if you can’t, find windows to sit nearby!
· Pay attention to how you’re fueling your body—Try to eat a healthy diet by balancing what you’re eating.
· See your friends and family—seeing those we love, and care about can help take our minds off the changing weather and bring joy to our lives.
· Seek help when needed—if your winter blues are more difficult than you know how to handle, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are so many people who want to help you get through this.
When it comes to vitamin D, a, “massive 41.6% of adults in the United States don’t get enough, and the numbers are higher for people with darker skin: 82.1% of African Americans and 69.2% of Hispanics don’t get enough vitamin D” (Forrest, 2011). We are all different so it’s important to pay attention to our vitamin D levels as we hit those colder months and pay attention to where we are located in the world. There are many factors that go into our vitamin D levels, and that includes age as well. Having a normal level of vitamin D can help combat these winter blues we all dread.
There are so many ways to combat winter blues, and these ideas only scratch the surface. If you’re feeling off and need help consider scheduling a free consultation. Nobody has to go through this alone!
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