As the days get shorter and gloomier, we find ourselves feeling unmotivated and lethargic. Hot coffee and homemade soups, pretty Fall and Christmas decorations, and fresh-baked goodies keep me going through November and December but by January I can’t stop dreaming about running away to a warm sunny beach somewhere.
When warmth and sunshine are lacking, I’ve learned a few tricks over the years that usually get me through until spring. Here they are:
- Go to bed early and get up early. This way I get the maximum amount of sunshine when the days are short.
- Keep a consistent sleep pattern: As soon as I wake up I turn on bright, full spectrum lights. Then I surround myself with bright lighting throughout the day. I keep the shades open and sit close to windows. Just as importantly, I dim the lights in the evening. I use cool blue or full spectrum lighting the first half of the day and warm lighting the second half of the day. The proper lighting throughout the day really helps to maintain a stable sleep/wake pattern.
- Exercise in the morning, outdoors if possible. Morning exercise boosts my mood and energy levels throughout the day and helps me to sleep better at night. Exercising too late in the day can make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Get outside as much as possible. Sunshine and fresh air is the best medicine for the winter blues. Even if it’s cold or cloudy, try to get outside. It will help brighten your mood.
- Try a light therapy lamp. Look for one that emits 10,000 lux of wide spectrum light and is UV free.
- If I nap, I nap early and keep it short so your sleep pattern is not disrupted.
- Stay warm. Hot coffee or cider, warm stews and soups, cozy soft sweaters and furry boots and slippers…these are a few of my favorite things about winter! J And nothing beats a sauna or a hot bath to break a winter chill.
- Supplements that help me.
Vitamin D - Since we get less sun in the winter our bodies produces less vitamin D. Supplementing with a D vitamin makes sense. I feel like it gives me slightly more energy and I get sick less when I take plenty of D.
Fish oil may also be beneficial for improving mood and overall wellbeing.
Melatonin - taking melatonin an hour or two before bed to help regulate sleep patterns.*
- Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) - A naturally occurring lipid that promotes healthy nervous system function.*
- Tyrosine - An amino acid that is a precursor for mood regulating neurotransmitters.*
- Rhodiola Rosea - An herb that’s been widely used for centuries to promote mental and physical endurance.*
- Vitamin D
Hopefully, this helps if you need a little boost this winter, and if all else fails, there’s always Jamaica! :)
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.