The “winter blues” are not an old wives’ tales. The dreary weather and lack of vitamin D from the sun can have a noticeable effect on your mental health, even if you aren’t necessarily predisposed to depression. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is the clinical term for this condition. You shouldn’t underestimate the adverse effect SAD can have on your mental health.
If you know that the weather has a significant impact on your mood and health, take some of these steps before the dark of winter.
Plan a Vacation
Everyone wants to go on summer holidays, but if you suffer from SAD, you’re better off taking your vacation days in the winter. Plan a trip to somewhere warm and sunny. It may seem like an extreme measure, but when you’re desperate for sunlight, there’s just no replacement.
Plan with Your Mental Health Therapist
Your Edmonton psychologist can be your best friend for managing Seasonal Affective Disorder, by helping you plan ahead and possibly prevent aspects of mood changes.
Change Your Diet
People rely on sun exposure for most of their vitamin D needs, but in the winter this supply is decreased. The resulting deficiency is the major contributing factor to the winter blues. Consider increasing vitamin D consumption by taking supplements, eating fortified yogurt, and grilling up some salmon.
Studies show that your gut produces a significant percentage of serotonin, which can help ward off depressive moods. Taking a probiotic and eating fiber-rich foods can improve the health of your microbiome. Some specialists also recommend eating foods rich in omega fatty acids like walnuts and flaxseeds, while eliminating foods that can cause mood swings like sugar, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol.
Consider consulting a dietician if you think that changing your diet could be helpful this winter.
Start an Exercise Routine
One of the best ways to keep your mood stable is often through exercise. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals like endorphins and endocannabinoids. An aggravated immune system can also be responsible for increasing feelings of depression. Exercise has been shown to warm the body and calm the immune system.
When depression strikes, it can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise. That’s why it might be important to start your exercise routine now.
Seasonal affective disorder is a serious condition that can take a toll on your mental health and physical energy, and in some cases, it can be deadly. Don’t cut corners or hesitate to get professional help if you’re feeling depressed during the winter. We always have staff available that specialize in depression therapy and we’d love to help.