Don’t let the Winter blahs take hold! It’s cold out and it gets dark early and the days are cloudy and grey with only a few short moments of sunshine and yes, that is enough to get anyone feeling tired of the whole winter thing.
It can be hard to stay up beat and motivated with reduced daylight hours, lack of sunshine and staying indoors more. If you are not careful, it can lead to a disinterest in activities, increased appetite, and fatigue.
Take back your mood and boost your energy with these proven tips that will have you feeling better and put that spring back in your step long before Spring!
Eat Summer Foods
What you eat can affect how you feel. Processed, high fat, heavy foods can leave you feeling fatigued and lazy. Focus on including fresh fruits and vegetables alongside lean protein and fibre-rich foods. Research shows that maintaining a healthy diet may improve your mood so slice up some mangos with that chicken, have a summery tomato and feta greek salad or enjoy a vegetable stir fry instead of a heavy stew.
Also make sure you get plenty of mood-lifting B vitamins from fibre sources such as oatmeal and whole grains. They supply folic acid as well as tryptophan, an amino acid that is used by your body to produce serotonin, which will help to regulate your mood.
Take a Sunshine Vitamin
Studies have found that low levels of the sunshine vitamin (Vitamin D) are associated with higher levels of the winter blues. Most Canadians are already at risk of vitamin D deficiency in the winter due to the long dark and cloudy days and the cold temperatures mean we spend significantly less time outdoors. Health Canada recommends adults get 600 IU of vitamin D per day. Good dietary sources include fatty fish, fish liver oils and egg yolks as well as fortified foods such as milk and some cereals, but it can still be difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone. Vitamin D supplements now come in fun sunshine gummies which makes getting your winter sunshine easier than ever.
Recommended for its boost in cardiovascular, brain and heart health, a deficiency of omega 3 may also be a contributing factor to mood. A 2006 review article in the Journal of Psychiatry identified that high fish eating countries such as Iceland have lower rates of seasonal affective disorder despite their northern latitude. However, as omega-3 rich fish diets change to a typical western diet which lacks regular fish consumption, the rate of depression and S.A.D. increased. Good dietary sources include salmon, mackerel, herring and tuna with many fortified foods available now as well as omega 3 supplements if fish for dinner is not a hit at your house.
Get Outside – Everyday
Sunshine and fresh air do the body wonders. Get outside for a walk on your lunch hour, pull on the snow pants and get outside with the kids after school or meet up with a friend for coffee outside! Take the stairs, join a hot yoga class, buy a new muscle toning DVD, do something to keep moving.
Eat fresh fruit and vegetables, get your vitamin D, serve fish a couple times a week and stay active inside and outside to boost those happy hormones and put a spring in your Winter step!