As the festive spirit of the holidays turns into dull afternoons and frosty nights, you may find yourself fighting the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). With endless weeks of winter on the horizon, it’s officially time to tackle those low energy levels. From hitting the gym to stepping into the sun, here are our top five ways to boost your spirits this season.
1) Keep fit for an energy boost: If your New Year’s Resolution for 2015 is to stay in shape, don’t let the drop in the mercury keep you away from your regular workout. Whether it’s a drop-in yoga class or a cardio session at the gym, keeping active can offer an energy boost. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the beats on that favourite workout playlist can even keep you motivated on an icy evening.
2) Eat a balanced diet with lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids: While it may be tempting to pick up another chocolate chip cookie, a balanced diet can keep the winter blues under control. Healthline.com reports that forms of lean protein, like salmon, can lift low spirits by boosting the chemicals of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. Try blueberries, walnuts or leafy greens to give your body a dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which can also tackle a dipping mood.
3) Keep your alcohol, caffeine and sugar intake to a minimum: After all, the holidays were packed with sugar-filled soirées and cocktail parties. For a health-smart start to the year, trade in your coffee mug for a soothing cup of matcha green tea. Satisfying those sugar cravings can lead to crashing energy levels later in the day, while alcohol acts as a depressant in the system. .
4) Consider Vitamin D supplements: If the pitch-black skies on your afternoon commute home have left you craving a day on the beach, vitamin D supplements may be your solution. A lack of vitamin D in the system can lead to dreaded feelings of the winter blues or SAD.
5) Embrace the sunlight: Try planning a weekend getaway to a ski resort or an afternoon at the skating rink to give your dark mood an instant lift. Not only will you get your daily exercise fix, you’ll also benefit from Vitamin D as you soak up the winter sun. For those with symptoms of SAD, WebMd reports that light therapy can be a quick solution.