6 Simple Tips On Beating The Winter Blues This Season
In the summer months, you are exposed to vitamin D through the sun’s rays and the interaction it has with your skin - so you are able to make what you need (mostly).
However, in winter, without the sun, you do not naturally receive enough vitamin D to synthesise as you do in summer. Supplementing with a good quality vitamin D may help improve symptoms of the winter blues, low mood and immune challenges.
You can also increase your intake of vitamin D rich foods such as;
- Fish such as tuna and salmon
- Beef liver
- Egg yolks
3. Light therapy for the winter blues
To help with SAD symptoms, some people use a lightbox (daily for 30 minutes), which exposes them to light each morning after waking. The bright light mimics daylight and can help adjust mood by increasing chemical releases in the brain.
Another option is an alarm clock that simulates dawn by slowly increasing in light as a way to wake up.
Exposing yourself to natural light as soon as you wake up also helps with supporting your circadian rhythm - so pull the curtains or go outside as soon as you can - before looking at your phone!
4. Herbal support
St John's wort for the winter blues
St John's wort is one of the most researched herbs for depression and low mood and is the only herb with clinical research for SAD. The 4-week study utilised St John's wort extract alone (900mg) and St John's wort extract combined with light therapy.
The study found that for both groups, there was a significant antidepressant action in SAD patients - with improvements in fatigue, mood, appetite, libido and sleep (Miller, 2005). They also noted that the inclusion of light therapy did not dramatically make a difference. So, for those who do not respond to light therapy or find it too hard to maintain, St John's wort is an effective treatment on its own.
Traditionally herbalists have thought of St John's wort of the plant that holds the 'sun and sunny feelings' as it flowers at the peak of summer and can help with mood. It has been traditionally recommended for mood support for those suffering from the winter blues.
Please note that St John's wort at this dose will interact with long-term medications, so it's not recommended if you are taking prescription medication.
Lemon balm for the winter blues
Lemon balm is a well-known nervine herb that helps supports the mood, reduce feelings of stress and support calm. It benefits your digestive system, indigestion, supports sleep and can help heart palpitations.
The combination of lemon balm and St John's wort is particularly effective as both herbs work synergistically together to help reduce symptoms of the winter blues. Another bonus of lemon balm is that you can feel the effects within an hour, so it can offer quick relief.
We have formulated our Mood Boost to help support the winter blues, feelings of low mood and irritation. Our wild-crafted St John's wort and organic lemon balm are combined with hawthorn to support your whole nervous system.
Movement is always a great way to boost your energy and mood naturally. Schedule a lunchtime walk to get outside into natural light instead of staying inside all day. Fresh air and movement can help reset your day - it doesn’t have to be for long. A quick walk around the block would be a great place to start.
6. Get help or talk to someone you trust
Sometimes it can feel like more than just the winter blues. If you are concerned or there is an acceleration in your symptoms, see your medical professional.
Some people take antidepressants for the winter months to help them through - it is always important to check your options.
Here is a link to a great resource/quiz that you can take to see if you need extra help.
Others also engage with CBT as a therapy to help, which can also be worth looking in to. It is a talking therapy that enables you to manage your problems by changing how you think and behave in areas in which you need help and support.
If you recognise any of the symptoms or suffer from the winter blues, it might be worth looking into proactively supporting yourself this winter season. It might help alleviate some of the things you dislike about winter and allow you to enjoy the cooler season a bit more.