Do the cold, dark days of winter have you down? Do you feel tired, lack motivation, and crave unhealthy comfort foods? Millions of Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder also referred to as SAD, with the majority being women. The reduction of sunlight in the winter months causes us to become depressed at varying degrees. Here is a list of 12 ways to kick that seasonal depression to the curb, get rid of those feelings of sluggishness, and avoid winter weight gain.
1. Keep a schedule. SAD can disrupt sleep patterns which in turn throw your body into a mode of stress. Set an alarm to wake up at the same time every day. Follow a routine of gratitude and stretching in the morning and get to bed at the same time every night.
2. Exercise every day. Get your heart rate up for at least 20 minutes every day. If you are unable to join a fitness class invest in a Fitness tracker and make small goals of getting a certain number of steps each day or burning a specific number of calories.
3. Eat nutrient dense foods. Focus on adding colorful fruits and veggies, along with lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates to your meals.
4. Eliminate refined sugar, alcohol, and caffeine from you diet. Eating real foods will provide you with energy and help you avoid the sugar or caffeine crash that can lead to feelings of sluggishness.
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5. Buy a light box. Using a light box for a few minutes each day in the winter months has been shown to increase mood and overall health greatly.
6. Try aromatherapy. Besides adding an overall boost to your immune system, diffusing oil has been shown to enhance emotions by creating an atmosphere of wellness.
7. Get outside. Bundle up and find an activity that you enjoy or take your dog for a walk around the park. Breathing fresh air and getting outdoors can dramatically increase feelings of happiness and well-being.
8. Journal your feelings or talk with a therapist. This will help manage emotions and provide you with an outlet. For severe cases of SAD, consider speaking with a therapist about medications.
9. Take vitamin D supplements. The “sunshine vitamin” fights disease, wards off depression, and aids in weight loss. Max Muscle Nutrition has a great Vitamin D supplement!
10. Listen to positive and motivating Music/Podcasts/Audiobooks/Sermons/etc. Spending time listening to uplifting music or speakers can have a dramatic effect on your mental health. They provide you with the power to choose who you will allow to influence your life. They can provide fresh perspective and promote self-development.
11. Schedule social events or volunteer. Even if you feel like hunkering down with some popcorn to binge watch your favorite show, invite a few friends to join you. Weekly coffee dates or walks will give you a reason to get outside on the weekends, and volunteering will provide you with a deeper purpose.
12. Pamper yourself. If you are not able to take a vacation to someplace warm and sunny, schedule an appointment for a spa day with the girls. A simple massage can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle new goals.
By Joy Kushner
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