An estimated 20% of adults experience the depression, fatigue and mood changes known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Researchers hypothesize that these mood changes and low energy levels are brought on by the darker, colder days of fall and winter. You don’t have to move to Hawaii or a similarly sunny climate to escape the winter blues. The following five tips and tricks can help you to boost your mood and experience a happier, healthier fall and winter season.
Beat the Winter Blues and Boost Your Mood: 5 Ways to Feel Happier This Winter
1. Eat Your Sunshine
Most people who experience the winter blues also have low vitamin D levels, reports the National Institute of Mental Health. Some studies have shown that increasing your intake of vitamin D may help to reduce your risks of SAD and even elevate your mood and emotions!
Plus, increased levels of vitamin D are also associated with improved immune function and reduced rates of getting sick.
Adult men and women should aim for at least 600 IU of vitamin D a day. Some of the best dietary sources of vitamin D include eggs, fatty fish like sardines and mackerel, and mushrooms.
2. Nourish Your Gut
Did you know that your gut is an important part of your nervous system and there is a powerful health connection between your gut and your mood, your cognitive function, and even your risks of mental health problems?
Probiotics can help boost your gut health, improve your mood if you have the winter blues, and strengthen your immune system simultaneously. Gut-friendly nutrition strategies include:
- Taking a daily probiotic supplement
- Eating at least one fermented food a day, such as fermented dairy (e.g. yogurt, kefir, etc.) or fermented vegetables (e.g. kimchi, sauerkraut, etc.)
- Ensuring you’re getting enough fiber
- Enjoying prebiotic foods like oats, onions or garlic, which help to feed the healthy bacteria in your gut
- Avoiding too much sugar, caffeine and alcohol
3. Get More Protein
Depending on your physical activity levels, approximately 30 percent of your daily calories should come from protein.
Unfortunately, many adults don’t hit this macronutrient target regularly.
A whey protein supplement can help. Not only is whey easy to digest and a quick way to increase your protein intake, but whey protein may also boost your serotonin levels.
Serotonin is a feel-good hormone linked with happier moods, and research suggests that low serotonin levels are related to the symptoms of SAD.
4. Sweat Out the Winter Blues
Just 35 minutes of walking can help reduce the symptoms of depression. All forms of exercise, including weight lifting, can help to balance your hormones and improve your mood because exercise triggers the release of endorphins.
Great ways to sweat it out in the winter include:
- Snow chores like shoveling snow or clearing your driveway
- Building snow structures with your family, such as snowmen or a snow fort
- Going on a wintery hike
- Winter sports, such as hockey, skiing or snowboarding
5. Get More Light
Exposing yourself to more natural light has been one of the most widely used methods for treating the low moods, fatigue, and depression associated with SAD. Add more natural light to your winter life by:
- Moving your chair or furniture closer to the window
- Allowing more light to enter your home by keeping hedges and trees trimmed back properly
- Spending more time outdoors
- Renovating your home’s common spaces to include skylights or bigger windows
- Using bright, artificial lighting that mimics the full spectrum of the sun’s natural light
Each of these strategies don’t just boost your mood, but they can also help to support a strong and healthy immune system during the winter. You may also want to support your immune system with thymic proteins. These proteins help your immune system respond to threats. BioProPlus-500 includes five bioidentical thymic proteins to support your immunity, and also includes the essential minerals zinc.
Got the Winter Blues? Keep Reading More: