As the cold sets in and the months of blah ensue, it’s time to take stock of your mood. Check in with yourself, has the weather affected your attitude?
Around mid February my mood starts to dip and I never want to go outside. I’m a secret introvert during the best of times, but throw a dumping of snow and a cold spell on top of that and I’m never leaving my couch. Why would I when Netflix just added the movie Center Stage? I suspect a lot of people feel the weight of Winter, so I’m throwing out my top tips for surviving the season!
1. Up your Vitamin D
Being bundled up in Canada all Winter means you’re less likely to get this sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D is actually more like a hormone. Receptors are found in your intestines, pancreas, kidneys, bones, and in parts of your immune system. It has a large role in how your immune system functions, hello flu season! Vitamin D also has a role in mood; people with depression have lower levels in their blood, and supplementation produces mood boosts similar to light therapy for people experiencing seasonal affective disorder. Supplements are usually available in the form D3 (better absorbed by your body) as drops or pills.
2. Focus on warming soups
Miso soup is a great bet this time of year as it’s a fermented food that will keep your gut and all the bacteria that live there happy! There’s a huge link between gut bacteria and mood. Did you know the majority of your body’s serotonin (your brain’s happy juice) is produced in your gut? Its role in the gut is to help with motility and keep everything moving along. Your body is likely craving warming broths during colder weather in an attempt to warm up, so give in and get toasty!
3. Limit refined sugar
Refined and processed sugars are whack. They mess with your blood sugar levels and can make you feel more jittery and irritable. Over-consuming baked goods has even been linked with depression. To get through Winter you need a steady supply of slow-release complex carbs like sweet potato and squash or grains like oats and quinoa.
4. Gobble those greens
You’ve no doubt heard about antioxidants and “superfoods” that contain them. Antioxidants are like police officers that arrest free radical punks before they damage your body. People with depression have lower levels of antioxidants in their blood and higher rates of oxidative stress (ie. more punks and less police officers to help). A good way to get antioxidants (and folate, another key mood vitamin) is to increase your leafy green intake. Kale isn’t the only superhero here…have you tried watercress or mustard greens?
5. Find an activity you love
Clients tell me all the time they hate going to the gym. My response? K…then don’t go to the gym. It really is that simple, don’t do an activity that you don’t enjoy because you’ll never keep up with it! Explore different activities like yoga, zumba, adult colouring, knitting, making t-shirts, whatever appeals to you! Then actually schedule time to make it happen, just like you would a coffee date with a friend. Only this date is with yourself and it’s unbreakable ;)
If you need more support to get through Winter there’s loads to be done nutritionally. Reach out and set up a free meet n’ greet to learn more.