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Keep Your Mood Sunny When the Weather is Dreary

by Beth on January 18th, 2013

Most of you know this is my first winter in Northern Virginia after having lived for 8 years in Arizona. Fortunately, it’s been a mild winter so far, but there are still more gray days here than there were in the desert. My mood has always dropped when I go too long without seeing the sun. So I thought I’d look into ways to try to keep my spirits up during the winter months. Here are some of the tips I discovered:

  • Make sure you aren’t deficient in Vitamin D. Your body needs sunlight to synthesize Vitamin D, so levels are usually low during winter months. Since Vitamin D is related to the amount of serotonin, which controls your moods, in your brain, low levels can cause depression. Fish, eggs and milk are good sources of Vitamin D or you may want to take a supplement during the winter months.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are one of nature’s most powerful antidepressants. Foods rich in Omega-3 are important to mood and energy regulation. Salmon, flax seeds and walnuts are excellent sources of Omerga-3.
  • As hard as it is, try to ignore your craving for carbohydrate-heavy foods. The decreased serotonin that comes with a lack of sunlight causes us to crave these comfort foods. That’s why we often gain weight in the winter. Opt instead for proteins and complex carbs like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Since the reduced amount of natural sunlight is a major contributor to feeling sad in winter, light therapy is a great solution. Using a light box for 30 minutes a day can help alleviate seasonal depression. The iSAD Lamp app turns your iPhone into an alarm clock that simulates sunrise by emitting a bright glow from the screen. It also helps to spend as much time outdoors as possible during daylight hours, open the shades to let in more light and use brighter light bulbs.
  • Aromatherapy is another great mood booster. You might choose smells reminiscent of spring and summer, like rose or honeysuckle, but a good option is a lemon-scented candle because the smell of citrus has been shown to be especially effective in lifting moods.
  • Socializing is always one of the best ways to boost your mood. But bad weather and short days make you more likely to isolate yourself in the winter months. The problem is that staying cooped up in your house feeds loneliness and depression. So you need to make an effort to connect with people: go out to lunch with friends, call a family member, plan a Mardi Gras party.
  • You already know exercise improves your mood. But did you know that the time of day you exercise makes a difference? It turns out the people who exercise in the morning sleep better and burn more calories throughout day. So as hard as it is to crawl out of bed on cold dark mornings, it’s worth the effort! If you have trouble motivating yourself you might want to hire a personal trainer for just a few months or partner with a friend.

From → Emotions, Well-being

2 Comments
  1. Mary Paz. permalink

    Aunque no te sé escribir en Inglés. Lo he comprendido. Puede ser que tenga un déficit de Vitamina D. Tengo otro problema. No puedo tomar calcio. Los lácteos me producen cálculos renales de Oxalato Cálcico. Lo paso fatal.

    En cuanto a Omega3 y Omega6. Tomo lo que puedo. Lecitina de Soja también.

    Aunque soy diabética. Tomo bastante fruta y verduras en mi dieta diaria. Sobre todo naranja. Vitamina C.

    Lo de la lámpara que imita a la luz solar, desconozco que es. Aquí hay despertadores que hacen ese efecto.

    En cuanto a la aromaterapia, como todo lo relativo a terapias alternativas, encuentro que son fabulosas.

    Fallo en socialización, a penas salgo de casa. Soy agorafóbica. No he podido salvar ésto. Comencé con la menopausia y sola no puedo salir a la calle.. Siempre fui sociable y comunicativa. Ahora soy igual, pero, aunque lo intento, no logro salir fuera, me bloqueo. Al igual que me ocurre con mi “miedo a los médicos”. Tengo pánico, desde las operaciones de mi hija. No lo he salvado. Es como decimos aquí: “la pescadilla, que se muerde la cola”. O un círculo vicioso. Tienes que ir al Médico para curarte y al Psicólogo para vencer tus miedos, pero si tienes pánico justamente a los médicos ¿Qué haces?. Yo sé lo que me lo ha causado. La impotencia ante situaciones que se han dado con las intervenciones fallidas de Ana, mi hija. He sufrido impotencia ante la prepotencia de cierto traumatólogo. Mi hija ha sido uno de sus 5 fallos no reconocidos. Eso es muy duro. Siento que he luchado para nada. Aquí se tapan unos a otros.

    Beth, muchas gracias por tu ayuda. Estás, sin quererlo, quizás haciendo terapia conmigo. Te lo agradezco. esa ayuda que me estás prestando con tus palabras. Muchos besos y todo mi cariño, Mary Paz.

  2. Beth permalink

    Gracias, Mary Paz, por tus comentarios. Me alegro saber que lo que escribo te ayude!

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