6 Natural Methods to Beat the Winter Blues
So you made it through the holidays, surviving visits from your in-laws and crazy aunt Betty. January arrived and you celebrated the new year, even kept your resolution (for a while). As we enter into February restlessness starts to settle in. The days are short and the nights are long. Motivation evaporates and it can be hard to get out of bed in the morning. We call it the “winter blues”, but for some it can be crippling. Enter “SAD” Seasonal Affective Disorder.
What is SAD?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that occurs at certain times of the year. Just like hens people are affected by the reduction of light during the winter months. For birds, it affects the number of eggs that they lay. For people, it causes symptoms of depression such as lethargy, weight gain and an all around feeling of hopelessness.
Who’s at Risk?
- Gender: Women are twice as likely to be affected by Seasonal depression than men
- Location: If you live in an area where the days are shorter in the winter than in the summer you are likely to be affected
- Heredity: Having a history of depression in your family will make you predisposed to it
- Age: If you are between the ages of 18 and 30 you are more likely to be affected by SAD
Light Box: I have one of these in both my home and the lab. I love adding a little bit of sunshine and positive vibes to our formulas! They are easy to get, inexpensive and they work quickly. For best results use in the a.m. The light increases brain activity and evening treatment could result in insomnia. While it works quickly the effects wear off soon after the treatment is finished, so it’s best to combine light therapy with other methods.
Bananas: Yes Bananas 🙂 Bananas contain Tryptophan, Potassium and Magnesium. All have been proven to alleviate symptoms of depression such as insomnia and anxiety. High protein foods, such as pasture-raised eggs, leafy greans and fish also help
Aromatherapy: Specific blends that contain Jasmine and Citrus are known for their ability to lift spirits and ease signs of depression.
St. Johns Wort: St. Johns Wort has been shown to increase the levels of serotonin in the brain, which is thought to be the leading cause of depression.
Music: Music has a profound effect on your emotions. Uplifting music can soothe your spirits, ease anxiety and motivate. One of my favorites is Walking on Sunshine, by Katrina and the Waves. It’s my GoTo song when I need to be motivated (like on house-cleaning day).
Cognitive Therapy: While finding the energy to get out and talk to someone can be a challenge when you are suffering from S.A.D. there’s no doubt that the action has a positive effects. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy is an alternative to medication, where traditional cognitive therapy is combined with meditation. You can learn more about MBCT here
On a positive note, there is sunshine on the horizon. February is one of the worst months of the year for those affected by SAD, and thankfully, the shortest month as well. Soon March will be here and we will have sun, green grass and best of all…baby chicks!!