How to Keep S.A.D. From Bringing You Down This Winter

Guest post from Kimberly Hayes of PublicHealthAlert.info

As the winter months approach, you may be worried about your mood. Those down days can be more than just an inconvenience: your depressed feelings may actually be a form of seasonal affective disorder, which is also known as S.A.D. Thankfully, there are some simple ways you can alleviate your feelings and improve your mood during prime S.A.D. months. 

Don’t Let Winter Drain Your Energy 

When you suffer from S.A.D., the winter months can be a drag on your vitality. Shorter hours of daylight results in your body having a difficult time producing the energy you need. So, how can you combat this effect? You may need to find ways to boost your energy, even when it’s hard to get some sunlight. Spending time outside, sharing time with friends, and writing in a journal can all be wonderful ways to boost your energy during the winter.

Another approach to increasing winter zeal is to focus on the health of your gut. If the bacteria in your gut is out of balance, it could lead to an imbalanced mood. Consider supplementing your diet with probiotics to get your gut and mood stabilized. To further boost your mood, especially during those weeks when overcast skies never seem to end, you can also pick up some S.A.D. lamps for your home. These specialty lamps supply some much-needed light therapy that can be the natural pick-me-up for people who suffer from all forms of S.A.D., including depression. 

Take Special Care with How You Eat 

S.A.D. can impact much more than just your mood. As your energy levels and spirit begin to dip during the winter months, you may also notice a change in your food cravings. S.A.D. sufferers typically begin to crave comfort foods when they are feeling low, but those soothing foods can be loaded with simple carbohydrates that will make you feel worse.

Luckily, there are plenty of swaps you can make in order to enjoy all your favorite comfort foods without the added starches and sugars. Cauliflower is a brilliant substitution when you are craving mashed potatoes, and you will hardly know the difference once you make the switch. In fact, you can use cauliflower to make healthier wings, pizza, and rice, which will allow you to maintain your healthy eating habits throughout winter.

Of course, no winter is complete without some holiday sweets, but baking up healthier holiday cookies is also a possibility, to keep all that sugar from crashing your mood. Adding super healthy chia seeds — or even veggies — can make your holiday treats so much better for you. Finally, don’t overlook the role vitamin D can play in the way you feel, and take note of the signs you may be missing out on this important nutrient. 

Don’t Forget to Find Ways to Relieve Stress 

Winter can get you feeling down but the pressures of the holidays can also cause some additional stress. Stress relief is a vital pillar in protecting yourself from the effects of S.A.D., so establish some healthy practices that help take those tension levels down. If you have not tried it already, meditation can be an invaluable means for relieving stress. Practicing even the most basic meditations can decrease stress and help you manifest a more positive attitude.

To promote a regular practice, you should select a quiet space in your home to adapt into your own meditation area. Include a supportive cushion, to encourage better posture and alignment of your body during your meditation sessions. For that final relaxing touch, choose aromatherapy aids that will produce more feelings of calm in your sacred space. Jasmine can elevate your mood and peppermint can increase focus, so a combination of the two can really take your meditation practice to the next level. 

The doldrums of seasonal affective disorder can be very real in the winter, but you can easily take steps to relieve those gloomy feelings. Be kind to yourself and be willing to practice more self-care to reduce the impact S.A.D. has on your life.