I am writing this from Northern Scandinavia. It’s January and the situation outside is dark, cold, and generally without hope. It’s tough to live in a place like this, which is why I try to travel as much as possible during the wintertime, but sometimes you’re stuck, or you just want to spend one winter in snow country.
Whatever your reason is doesn’t matter, because there are ways to cure the winter blues, or at least dramatically reduce its effects.
And always remember, you are not alone in this.
With all that out of the way, let’s look at five simple ways you can cure the winter blues.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an interesting vitamin because the only place you can get it is from the sun. Now, you can get some from milk, eggs, and liver, just to name a few sources, but they all came from the sun in one way or another.
When it gets dark, cold, and the snow starts falling, you don’t have a solid source of vitamin D. Your body can store vitamin D for quite some time, but most of us don’t get enough sun anyway, so our reserves don’t last.
Researchers and experts have found that a significant portion of people living in colder, darker climates are severely deficient in vitamin D.
This can lead to a host of health problems that I won’t go into now, but a simple way to remedy the situation is to buy a vitamin D3 supplement.
Of course, you want to consult with your doctor before you take any of the tips in this article. Nevertheless, a vitamin D3 supplement has helped me immensely in curing the winter blues. Here is another article supplementing this thought.
- Fish Oil
Fish oil provides much-needed omega-3 essential fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, which have huge effects on your mood, energy, heart, and even the brain development in infants.
There are an astonishing amount of proven fish oil benefits. You see, your body cannot produce these essential fatty acids by its own accord. And the problem today is that a lot of the oils we consume (canola oil, sunflower oil, and so on) are ripe with omega-6 fatty acids.
This skews the ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and causes inflammation in your body, which leads to, you guessed it, health problems.
But let’s focus on the mood enhancing effects of omega-3 fatty acids. There’s a neurotransmitter called serotonin in your body, and when you eat fatty fish, or take a high-quality fish oil supplement, your serotonin levels go up, which leads to your mood going up.
It has been shown that omega-3 fatty acids fight depression very effectively. Drug companies have made billions from this discovery by selling serotonin enhancing drugs, such as Zoloft, Prozac, and Paxil.
Let’s face it, you probably aren’t eating as healthy as you could. This happens to all of us, especially if you’re even slightly depressed living in a sunless time of year.
Your diet doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s okay to eat your favorite foods from time to time. The problem arises when you go overboard.
The first step is to eliminate as many unnatural food items from your diet as possible. This includes processed foods, sugar, junk food, and so on. I think you know what I’m talking about.
The foods that make me feel good are grass-fed beef, organic chicken, wild fish and game, fruits, vegetables, and berries. You won’t always be able to find organic or grass-fed food, and that’s okay. Do your best, and take it from there.
Even though we talked about Vitamin D and sunlight above, it still can make a huge difference in how you feel if you go to a tanning salon to get some light on your skin.
It has even been proven that tanning salons can relieve depression and give your body a vitamin D boost. There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there whether or not tanning salons are safe. Some say they cause cancer, while others say they don’t. Do some research, ask your doctor, and make your own choice. I personally do not think they are harmful if done in moderation, but again, I urge you to do your own research and form your own opinion.
When winter arrives, I usually bunker up at home and try not to go out if I don’t have to. But there are a lot of great activities you can engage in when it’s winter such as ice hockey, skiing, sledding, or just going out with friends for a night of bowling.
It’s easy to talk about these things, and they sound good on paper (or on the computer in this case), but how do you actually incorporate them into your life? The best way is to take things one step at a time. Don’t make big changes unless you really want to.
Maybe you feel compelled to start with your diet and remove one bad food a week. Once you start seeing your energy soar, you might try going to a tanning salon, or even trying a few natural supplements.
It’s all about small steps and steady progress.
What are you doing to keep from going stir crazy while cooped up this winter?