Some Tips for the Winter
As winter fast approaches, we begin to prepare ourselves for the cold, dark months ahead. We all react to the shift in seasons in different ways. For some, this can be seen as a time for more introspection and a welcome respite from the outside activities. For many of us the shift into the winter months and decreased exposure to daylight can trigger feelings of sadness or anxiety. Here are a few of the tips that I share with my patients for helping to cope with these changes;
Exercise - One of the best natural antidepressants and mood boosters out there. Study after study reinforces the benefits of exercise on overall mood and sense of well-being. If you can’t make it to the gym, try a simple 10-20 minute routine at home before or after work.
Diet - Focus on eating healthy. This will help to keep your immune system strong and energy levels up. Think foods in their most natural state. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, organic and antibiotic-free meat and wild fish. Avoid processed foods and foods high in artificial sugar.
Supplements- Make sure to have your Vitamin D3 levels checked. We are seeing a lot more of this deficiency and going into the winter when we are less exposed to natural light can exacerbate an underlying deficiency. Low Vitamin D levels have been linked to a myriad of mental and overall physical health problems. In addition to vitamin supplementation there are many natural approaches available to treat mood symptoms. You should always check with a professional before trying over the counter remedies. There may be harmful interactions with medications and not every supplement is right for every person.
Light Box - Exposure to full-spectrum lighting for some is a wonderful way to combat depression. You can order a light box or download an app on your phone. Aim for 20-30 minutes 1-2 times a day.
Seek Professional Help - For some individuals the mood symptoms are too incapacitating to handle on their own. If you find yourself struggling with overwhelming thoughts of depression or anxiety it may be time to reach out for some support. You can schedule an appointment with a Psychiatrist to discuss whether medications may be appropriate for you. If you are not sure if medications are for you then you can consult with an Integrative Practitioner, ie. Integrative Internist, Naturopath, Homeopath, Acupuncturist or therapist, ie. Psychologist, LMSW to begin with.