If you find yourself feeling gloomy and tired during the winter months, you’re not alone. Here are a few ways to keep a little sunshine in your life!
1. Get enough sleep. Your circadian rhythm, basically your body’s clock, changes with exposure to sunlight. Less sunlight in the winter means you feel sleepier – so it may take an extra hour of zzz’s to wake up with the same energy you feel the rest of the year.
2. Exercise outside. The benefits are twofold: exercise is clinically shown to reduce depression, and sunlight replenishes your Vitamin D stores. Bonus points if you can fit in your workout near a body of water (not so hard here)! Studies indicate that exercising near water significantly increases the antidepressant effects, even if it’s just a 15 minute walk.
3. Stay social. When it’s cold and dark, staying in can sound quite appealing. Don’t isolate yourself! Make plans to meet up with friends or family at least once a week. Give yourself an excuse to dress up – or at least change out of those sweatpants.
4. More protein, less sugar. The winter months, and especially the holidays, are a common time to overdo it on carbs and sugar. Unfortunately, these can also weaken your immune system and make you vulnerable to winter colds. Protein helps moderate your blood sugar levels, which can help reduce cravings for sweets.
5. Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been tied to fatigue, depression, and low immune response – and over 40% of people in the US are deficient! Sunlight is the best source, but you can also get extra Vitamin D by eating certain seafood, eggs, mushrooms, and dairy products. If that’s not enough, talk to your doctor about taking a Vitamin D supplement.
If all else fails, stop by our office for some dog therapy!