Overcome the Blue Monday blues with 8 healthy winter routines
A SAD FEEL IN THE WINTER
That formula is of course a bit nonsense, but it does contain some truth. It is a fact that many people suffer from depressive feelings during the winter months and sometimes even from a winter depression or Seasonal Depression (SAD). Maybe you recognize a few symptoms and you feel less motivated in the winter, you sleep more or less, you see changes in your diet, you have less energy and you don't feel like anything.
The causes of such winter depression or depressed feelings are actually very obvious. Because the days get shorter and you see less light, your biological clock is disturbed. Lack of light can also affect your serotonin level, the neurotransmitter that affects your mood and your melatonin level that affects both sleep and mood.
8 HEALTHY WINTER TIPS TO PREVENT WINTER DEPRESSION
1. TRY TO GET SUFFICIENT LIGHT
Because light has such a big influence on your mood, it is important to use the hours that there is light even in winter. Take a morning walk or go outside during your lunch break. If you really have a hard time, then light therapy is an option to restore serotonin and melatonin levels. According to Alfred Lewy, researcher at the University of Oregon, not only the light is important, but also the timing of the light and you can do light therapy the best in the morning.
2. KEEP MOTION = KEEP on Moving
Movement has a big influence on your mood. It may be tempting to plop more on that couch in the winter, but still try to get yourself moving every day and you will see that you feel much better. That does not necessarily have to be an intense HIIT training, even a walk or yoga class can do wonders.
3. VITAMIN D
Vitamin D plays a role in your energy level, but is created by sunlight and sometimes in the winter there is not enough of it. That's why it doesn't hurt to take some extra vitamin D in the colder months. It can also help to eat extra fatty fish, such as salmon and herring, because it contains vitamin D3, just as to a lesser extent also in eggs.
4. DEVELOP A GOOD SLEEP RHYTHM
Do you know that grumpy feeling if you haven't slept enough? Exactly! To feel good, it is therefore very important that you sleep well and seven hours a night is the minimum. Develop a rhythm where you get up and go to bed at the same time every day, including the weekend, and you will see that you sleep much better.
Mindfulness can help you prevent winter depression, but you can also learn how to deal with it better. Accept that you feel less for a while and expect less from yourself in those months. Do everything you can do with more attention and take it easy, because that also suits the winter months.
6. ADJUST YOUR NUTRITION
Healthy and varied food can also help to be one step ahead of winter gloom. Start your day with water with lemon for vitamin C, sprinkle nuts and seeds over your salad for vitamin E, opt for green leafy vegetables for vitamin B12 and eat fatty fish not only for vitamin D3, but also for fish oil. It also pays to add green tea and turmeric to your diet.
7. EMBRACE THE WINTERYou can complain about the cold and the short dark days, but you can also use these months to spend more time at home with family and friends. In Scandinavia this is also known as the concept of hygiene. Those who are naturally not such a house sparrow and more adventurous, would do well to book a ticket to the sun. Not only the trip itself gives a good feeling, but also the anticipation in the weeks before.
8. BE THANKFUL
Dr. Amy Harrison teaches at Regent’s University and does a lot of research into positive psychology. She states that it helps to write down every day what you are grateful for. This way you train yourself to focus more on the positive things in your life.