The days are getting shorter, the air is getting colder and you are starting to feel pretty down. It’s winter. A lot of people suffer from increased feelings of depression during the winter months. In this post I want to show you a few ways that you can help beat the winter blues.
Seasonal Affective Disorder – Clinical Winter Depression
Did you know that there is actually a clinical form of depression that only occurs during winter? It is called Seasonal Affective Disorder and it is much more than just the winter blues. People who are affected by winter depression have serious symptoms like anxiety, fatigue, weight gain and more.
If you think that your winter blues are more than just winter blues then it is important to go and see your doctor. The tips I have given here will help but they are not a replacement for a medical diagnosis.
6 ways to beat depression during the winter months
1. Get outside often
As you might have already figured out, there is scientific evidence showing that depression increases when there is less sunlight. Sunlight causes the production of Vitamin D in your body and this is a natural antidepressant. If you don’t get a good amount of sunlight it is likely that you will start to feel depressed.
It is important to get outside in the sun often. Now I am not talking about getting dangerous amounts of sun as this can lead to sun burn and skin cancer. What I am talking about is a sensible amount, morning or late afternoon, when the sun is not too powerful.
2. Exercise regularly
Exercise is a fantastic way to help beat the winter blues. I love to get out and go for a run in nature. Near my house there is an old forest with a beautiful creek running through it. For many years I have gone jogging there just to be alone, enjoy the wildlife around me and breathe some fresh air.
But exercise makes you feel good for other, more scientific reasons. When you exercise your body releases a hormone called endorphins which make you feel happy. So every time you exercise you are helping to beat your depression in a very natural and healthy way.
3. Drink green tea
Recently I wrote about the health benefits of tea and in that post I mentioned that tea is a very helpful antidepressant. Green tea in particular is said to be very good for the mind.
The best green tea to buy are those from Japan and Central China. Green tea needs a certain temperature to grow properly and it seems as though these ancient cultures know exactly where to get the best green tea.
4. Avoid coffee
Coffee agitates your mind. It can cause you to feel anxious stressed and depressed. The problem with this one is that I know that most of my readers drink coffee. And according to the poll that we ran some of you drink a LOT of coffee!
If you are feeling down this winter I would like you to try cutting back on the coffee. Switch to green tea and watch the changes that occur in your mood and how you feel. I guarantee that after the initial slump of getting over coffee you will feel much better.
5. Keep eating fruit
When summer comes around we get a burst of amazing fruits like mangoes, grapes, raspberries, melon and so on. And the hot weather makes you want to eat them! It is too hot for heavy meals so you start eating a lot more fruit. And fruit is a natural antidepressant.
But when winter floats around all the good fruit disappears and we start getting cravings for carbs and heavy fatty foods. We want to eat hot stuff, not cool fruits. This is a bit of a shame. Try to keep your fruit intake up in the winter if you start to feel a bit down. I try to eat a fruit salad for breakfast everyday and I swear it is what keeps me healthy and well.
6. Be aware of the depression
One technique that you can use is to be aware of the depression creeping in during the winter months. The simple act of just being aware of it will actually make it feel a whole lot more manageable.
This is a simple meditation technique called mindfulness. All you are doing is becoming aware of the thoughts and watching them come and go. You don’t need to judge them or try to conceal them – just observe them and let them go. This is a powerful way to combat depression.
Winter time is difficult for a lot of people. For many people the winter months mean depression and fatigue. But there are some things that you can do. Try the tips I have suggested above and see how they work for you. But, remember, if you think your winter blues are getting worse you should always see you doctor.