Fight the winter blues naturally this season!

As winter approaches, the days get shorter… darker… colder… You wake up and go to work/school in the dark, spend the brightest part of the day working and then you return home in the dark. With memories of long, warm summer days, it’s no wonder people get depressed in the winter!

Well, this season, let’s fight the winter blues! Let’s increase our energy naturally! Let’s take control! Here are some of my best recommendations…

Outdoor exercise:
Exercise is one of the most important things to combat the winter blues and preferably outdoors in daylight. Bundle up and have fun! Some great ideas include snowshoeing, skiing, and skating. Fresh, invigorating air can be invigorating, like a cold shower to awaken your senses. It doesn’t really matter what exercise you do, just do it. Exercise releases endorphins, your natural feel-good hormone, and increases serotonin, which promotes healthy sleep. It also improves circulation, which improves healing and oxygenates the brain so it is more alert.

Spend time with friends/family:
Spending time with family and friends is a great mood lifter. Even if you don’t feel like it, force yourself to be social. Plan a fun outing, organize a dinner party, go to a spa day with the girls… Plan something you’ll love. Surround yourself with those who have positive energy, as some of that positivity is likely to rub off.

Bright light in the morning:
Bright light can be very therapeutic. Exposure to bright light in the morning helps reinforce normal circadian rhythms. Turn your face toward the sunlight for 15 minutes when you wake up or toward a bright indoor light. What are circadian rhythms? Circadian rhythms are natural body rhythms that regulate the sleep-wake cycle, digestion, and other bodily processes that occur in cyclical patterns over a 24-hour period. They tell the body when it needs to produce certain hormones and enzymes that regulate body processes.

It consists of the sleep-wake cycle:
Forcing yourself to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day also helps strengthen your circadian rhythms. This promotes better restoration during sleep and improves energy during the day. To ensure a good night’s sleep, be sure to practice proper sleep hygiene techniques, such as avoiding caffeine in the afternoon/evening and avoiding bright lights before bed.

Nourish the body with healthy foods:
Avoid sugary foods as these will cause spikes in your blood sugar level and thus also raise and lower your mood. Complex carbohydrates are better for keeping blood sugar at a more stable level, such as whole grains. Healthy snacks throughout the day also help. In general, whole foods are superior to highly processed foods because they are not lacking in important vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as they are nutritious and support good digestive health. Other important things to include are omega-3 oils, nuts, seeds, and smart proteins like fish, lean meat, and poultry. The B vitamins are especially important as they affect mood. Make sure you’re also getting enough vitamin D: It’s produced naturally by the skin when exposed to sunlight, but people can become deficient in the winter months. You are what you eat! Be sure to provide your body with essential nutrients, as these serve as building blocks for cell regeneration.

Avoid talking about the weather:
Unless you have something nice to say, don’t talk about the weather. Focus on the positive things.

Find a hobby or a new challenge/project:
Completing a challenge or project can give you a great sense of accomplishment and will naturally improve your mood. Try something to stimulate your creativity. Make some artwork or play an instrument. These activities can be very uplifting. Or curl up with a great book.

Holidays to a Warm Destination:
A warm vacation may be just what the doctor ordered. Find the balance between work and play.

Experience the healing arts:
Things like chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, and other manual therapies often provide relaxation and improve mood naturally. Chiropractic care helps balance the body both mechanically and neurologically. Many people report positive effects beyond the known physical effects of chiropractic care. Certain acupuncture points are used to improve mood and reduce anxiety.

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