A Holistic Approach to Dealing with Winter Blues
This summer flew by! Kids are back to school, Labor Day Weekend has come and gone, and the hours of sunlight are shortening by the day. Anyone else feel a sense of urgency to soak up the last warm sunny days? As we look ahead on our calendars, let’s plan ahead for winter!
Many people suffer from the winter blues (or Seasonal Affective Disorder) and can become fatigued, depressed, and unmotivated in the winter months. As with any medical condition, it is best to prevent it from becoming severe, and begin treatment early.
Daily walks outside—even on cloudy days
Exercise that gets your heart rate up
Good sleep hygiene
Antidepressants (if indicated)
I generally recommend making sure that your vitamin D level is in a therapeutic range—50-80 seems to be best. Living in a northern climate, it is very common to have a low or inadequate vitamin D level. This vitamin is not only important for mood, but is vital to the immune system, hormones, metabolism, and overall energy and feeling of wellness. B12 is another vitamin that can boost energy and mood. Nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin D, B12 and iron need to be well managed as they are big contributors to mood, energy, and metabolism.
Good sleep is vital. Limiting blue light before bed is something that we all should be doing! Put down the cell phone, shut off the TV and do a puzzle, read, or listen to music or your favorite podcast! For indoor lights the rest of the day, it should be bright until the late evening when you are close to being ready to go to bed.
Have trouble waking up and crawling out of bed in the winter? One thing that I personally find VERY helpful is an alarm clock that simulates a sunrise, and having the lights on a timer and dimmer so that they all slowly become brighter and gently bring me out of my sleep cycle. Try to get up around the same time every day, and go to bed the same time every night to help your body maintain its natural rhythm.
Addressing nutritional deficiencies, working on good sleep habits, making sure that there is lots of activity and light during the day can all help alleviate the winter blues. Medication can also be very helpful if the lifestyle changes are not effective enough, but studies show that light therapy etc., can offer around 65% improvement in depressive symptoms. This combined with medication can allow an individual to feel great all year round!
If you are interested in vitamin D injections, B12 injections, health coaching, or our other “alternative” therapies, hop onto our website and book that appointment today! If you would like to learn more about Alpha Stim or make an appointment to see one of our providers, please schedule online or give us a call.
—----Sarah Lee, ARNP
Fall, Leaves, Fall
By Emily Brontë
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.