Winter is here and if you’ve noticed that your mood has drastically changed for the worse lately, you’re certainly at the right place. We will be discussing SAD (seasonal affective disorder), its symptoms, and ways to combat it, so stay with us and keep on reading if you want to found out more about it. Check out our tips and improve the quality of your life this winter!
First of all – what is SAD?
SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, is a mood disorder that affects between 10 and 20 percent of people during any seasonal change. However, it’s most common in the winter months, and its symptoms are a persistent low mood, low self-esteem, a loss of interest in everyday activities, feeling stressed out, and becoming less sociable. A lot of experts claim that this disorder occurs when our levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that regulates our mood, anxiety, and happiness) drop in the brain due to the lack of natural light during winter. This drop increases the likelihood of a depressive episode, leading to a person experiencing the aforementioned symptoms. There are a lot of great ways to successfully combat SAD, so check out the most effective of them:
Check your vitamin D levels
In case you weren’t aware of that fact, exposing your bare skin to sunlight is actually the best way to provide your body with enough of vitamin D. However, there’s a small catch – winter is a season of sunshine deprivation, which results in low levels of vitamin D. So, the first thing you should do is to schedule an appointment with your doctor and do a quick test of your vitamin D levels. Apart from spending some time outside, when the sun is at its highest, you should also consider a vitamin D supplement prescribed by your doctor.
Warm up your green drinks and meals in general
Speaking of your diet, we must say that winter is probably the perfect time to indulge in comfort foods and ditch those healthy meals that were your favorites during summer and fall. Of course, it’s really easy to forget about those green smoothies and salads when there’s a cup of hot cocoa around, but be sure not to make such a mistake and make some changes to your meals. For example, you can warm them up by adding some ginger, which promotes circulation and aids digestion. It can also reduce muscle pain and soreness, as well as lower your cholesterol levels, so don’t wait any longer and incorporate it into your homemade meals as soon as possible.
Maintain a regular fitness routine
Working out is another effective way to improve your mood and reduce your anxiety. So, if you’re currently experiencing the symptoms of SAD, do your best to get moving and be as physically active as possible. Aerobic exercises are always a good idea, as well as an online workout you can do whenever you feel like it. Just find a YouTube video and get your workout for free! On the other hand, you can also hit the gym and go for an intense workout if that’s your cup of tea. Such a sweat session will boost your mood and pump you up, which is a fantastic way to combat this disorder. Once your workout is done, you can have the aforementioned green smoothie and add a spoonful of whey protein powder to the mixture. It will nurture your muscles after the workout and help you recover properly.
Stay away from alcohol and caffeine
When dealing with any kind of mood disorder, avoiding substances that can worsen the symptoms is highly recommended. That’s the case with SAD as well, so make sure to stay away from alcohol and caffeine in the first place as these can mess with your biochemistry and negatively impact your mental well-being. The same goes for processed sugar, sedatives, and all kinds of stimulating drugs, so do your best to avoid them – both during winter months and throughout the whole year. You should find a natural way to relax and improve your mood, so think of things that make you feel at peace, like working out, reading, or spending time with your friends, and pursue them instead.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways to combat the symptoms of SAD and lead a healthier and happier lifestyle this winter. Of course, you should stick to our tips and guidelines in the first place, and you’ll undoubtedly make that happen!