If you suffer depression, you already know winter can be tough to deal with, which means you’ll need to find more ways to avoid depression in the winter than other times of the year. Winter’s shorter, darker, and gloomier days can naturally lower our mood due to a lack of Vitamin D from the sun and the inability to get out of the house as much. Though I personally love the cooler days of winter, I do admit it is easy to get down if you’re not aware of certain ways to avoid depression in the winter. Check out my favorite ways, and be sure to share with me any you might have too!
One of my very favorite ways to avoid depression in the winter is to find some way to exercise, even if you find it tough at times. Try anything you can do indoors, such as walking on a treadmill or doing videos. You can also even check out videos on YouTube. If you can manage to get outside, that’s your best option, since it exposes you to natural light, fresh air, and gives you better scenery, even if it’s cold. Just be sure to bundle up!
One Ayurvedic principle many people don’t adhere to enough is the principle to eat with the seasons. When you eat cold food in cold weather, it naturally dampens the body and lowers your mood. Yet, try having a bowl of hot, cozy soup, oatmeal, or even some roasted veggies. These naturally enhance your mood because they help bring balance to the body, along with a sense of grounding. Eat with the seasons, and eat more warming foods that provide your body with nutrients to naturally help fight depression.
Another top tip I have to avoid depression in the winter is to take a potent Vitamin D supplement. It’s hard to overdose on Vitamin D3, but a good estimate is to take 5,000 mg. or 10,000 mg. per day. This is also a great way to enhance your bone and digestive health. This won’t make up for a lack of sunlight, but I can tell you it makes a huge difference in your war against depression.
Fish is a natural mood booster. It’s rich in omega 3 fatty acids, high in protein, B vitamins, and magnesium. All of these nutrient properties make it a super powerful food, especially for winter. It’s good in stews, soups, baked, grilled, or even broiled. Try having it with root veggies and leafy greens for a mood-boosting and warming meal.
One reason many people get depressed in winter is because it isolates you a bit if you’re cooped up indoors alone. Have friends over, or even visit them. It can help you enjoy the darker days of winter a little more and enjoy company with others as well.
Cocoa and chocolate are natural antidepressants, and powerful ones at that. Try consuming cocoa in your smoothies, or making a cup of coffee and stirring in a touch of cocoa powder for a homemade mocha! Or, make hot cocoa, but be sure to use a healthy sweetener and almond or coconut milk instead of sugar and dairy milk for the best options. Also, when choosing dark chocolate, aim for raw cacao nibs or powder, or go for 80% or higher cacao content in your chocolate bars.
Outside of exercise, it’s also important to stay active while you’re indoors all day. Sitting, sleeping, and being lazy only make things worse. Find small projects to work on at home if you can’t get out into town, and try to stay active through chores, or stand up more throughout the day. Be creative!
Since days are shorter, it’s harder, yet more important than ever to get up earlier. Our natural biological clocks rarely want to get up when it’s cold and dark out, but do your best to be up by 6 a.m. This exposes you to more sunlight since it gets dark earlier in the day. Sleeping in only makes things worse, no matter how tempting it is to stay in your warm, cozy bed.
Even if the weather is bad, do your best to get out of the house when you can. Any little bits will help, and will naturally increase your mood. Even if that just means a walk around the block, or visit to your local library or coffee shop. Fresh air and light do the body good!
Do you suffer depression in the winter? What tips do you have?