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How to Avoid the "Winter Blues": The Body Ecology 8-Step Guide

Want to boost your mood in the winter and all year round? These 8 sure-fire Body Ecology tips help you avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder and improve your well-being!

The leaves have long ago fallen off the trees and the weather is cold.

While other species are storing, nesting and hibernating, we humans expect to keep our typical hectic schedules and high productivity, with little regard to nature's direction. In fact, Mother Nature is telling us to slow down, rest more, and "cocoon" until the spring.

But with 24 hour technology and lengthy to do lists, rest may seem unlikely. Add to the mix the expectations of picture perfect holidays, family get-togethers, and the requisite consumerism.

It's no wonder that many people report feeling "down" around this time of year. In fact, we're physically burned out. One major symptom of adrenal fatigue is depression.

It's important to know that the winter season is THE most important time of the year to heal the adrenals. We are given shorter days by Nature for a very important reason…so that we can rest, rejuvenate our adrenal and sexual energy…and be ready for rebirth, renewal and of course, reproducing in the happy, warm, beautifully-romantic days of spring. (Note: expect to have a healthy "spring cleanse" so that you can first purify before the new you begins... about late February thru March)

The creation of electricity took us another step away from nature. Today many of us check our emails late at night, play computer games or watch TV with light shining brightly into our eyes. This is more damaging to our health than most of us realize. If you are a baby boomer concerned about how quickly you seem to be aging, it is important to revise your sleep schedule and be in bed by 10:00 pm.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

The winter blues are so common that we even have a name for them: Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. SAD typically involves a pattern of depressive or manic episodes that coincide with the winter season.

In the winter, do you:

  • Eat more?
  • Crave sugar and carbs?
  • Sleep more?
  • Feel more tired?
  • Gain weight?
  • Withdraw socially?

If so, you could be experiencing the aptly named, SAD.

The causes of SAD vary. They could include less sunlight, colder temperatures, more social isolation or even the stress of coping with winter holidays.

Official treatment of SAD includes light therapy using special lamps on a daily basis. People who live in higher latitudes find these full spectrum illumination lamps vital to maintaining peace of mind during the winter.

Light therapy can certainly help, but there are plenty of other ways to counteract SAD using diet and lifestyle choices.

Here are Body Ecology's 8 tips to avoid winter blues:

  1. Exercise! Moving your body pumps blood and oxygen into all of your systems, warming up your body during these cold months. Taking a walk outdoors is especially invigorating, but be sure to bundle up!
  2. Get free light therapy with natural sunlight. Even the weak winter sun gives tangible health benefits, like helping your skin synthesizevitamin D.
  3. Sleep more. Set your internal clock with the sunrise and sunset. Wake with the sun and start to wind down your day when the sun sets.Burn candles after dinner, play board games with your children, read a chapter in an inspirational book. Basically avoid light shinning directly into your eyes. When light shines into your eyes, it prevents melatonin from being released by your pineal gland. The melatonin makes you feel sleepy. The hours you log in before midnight are the most healing and rejuvenating.This natural rhythm will help your body (and your mood) adapt to the season.

    Be sure to read Why Winter is the Ideal Time to Learn How to Sleep Right.

    Make tasty sweet treats as part of your holiday celebrations with Lakanto! Unlike sugar, desserts made with this amazing all-natural sugar substitute won't cause mood swings or lead to depression.

  4. Eat less sugar. By now, you've probably noticed that eating less sugar can positively affect every part of your body and your life! Your mood is no different. Sugar has been linked to mood disorders and may even cause depression.1Try an all-natural sugar substitute, like Lakanto, for the sweet taste without the risks.
  5. Make homemade soups. Warming and nutritious, soups are the perfect meal for cold days.
  6. Spend time with friends and family. Laugh, play fun games, and spend time in the company of people who are positive. Your attitude can go a long way in helping you avoid winter blues.
  7. Do a candle meditation. A simple candle flame connects you to your inner fire, focuses your attention and decreases stress. Taking 30 minutes out of your busy schedule to relax and regroup with a candle meditation can be an amazing way to welcome the darkness of winter with joy.
  8. Take calming herbs like Holy Basil and GABA or drink a cup of Tulsi Tea by India Organics. Good old-fashion chamomile tea with lemon and stevia is great for children.
  9. Shift your energy, shift your mood. The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), created by Gary Craig, is an easy, natural way to take control of your moods. Anyone can do EFT by simply tapping on emotional acupressure points on your body as a way to release stuck energy and boost your mood within minutes. For freedom from SAD, take your mood into your own hands with EFT!

You can also go a long way toward boosting your mood through creating these new healing habits AND by changing your perspective. Daylight saving time may mean less light, less time, less energy in some ways, but this is truly Mother Nature's call to look inward and focus on home and hearth. It is a beautiful time for loved ones and cherished rituals.

Take Nature's rhythm as your own, slow down and enjoy.

As you nourish your body and your soul during this darker time of the year, you'll emerge in spring with renewed health and vitality.

Sources:

  1. Nay, Annette, "Processed Sugar Can Cause Addiction and Depression," Three-Peaks.net.
    http://www.three-peaks.net/annette/Processed-Sugar.htm
  2. Mandel, Debbie, "How to Brighten the Winter Blues," ChetDay.com. http://chetday.com/winterblues.htm

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