Winter can be depressing. It’s backed by science. It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder, and tens of millions of Americans suffer from it.
Why does it happen? Well, with Daylight Saving’s time, it cuts the amount of sunlight we’re exposed to. Plus, during the winter, in cold places, people bundle up. And sunlight is critical to our health. So during the winter, we aren’t getting the natural Vitamin D we need to feel our best.
Then there’s the holidays and the stress those bring. So, if you historically get a little down during the winter, I have some good news. It’s treatable. And, it’s not too difficult either.
Symptoms of Seasonal Depression
First, I’m going to give you a breakdown of seasonal depression symptoms. Now, very important: I am not a doctor. This is not health advice. These are just some average symptoms so you can see what your experience is. If you find yourself really suffering from some of these, you need to see a doctor ASAP.
- A change in appetite, especially a craving for sweet or starchy foods
- Weight gain
- A heavy feeling in the arms or legs
- A drop in energy level
- A tendency to oversleep
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased sensitivity to social rejection
- Avoidance of social situations—not wanting to go out
Light Therapy for Seasonal Depression
One of the biggest causes of SAD is lack of sunlight. Fortunately, we now have lamps that mimic the effect of sunlight on our skin. Which means if you use this light for even just 30 minutes a day, your body will create all the nutrients needed for you to be happy and feel great.
Very important: these lights are NOT the same as the lights in tanning beds. So you will not get the same benefits from a tanning bed! Don’t expose yourself to unnecessary skin risk by tanning to try and get rid of seasonal depression. It won’t have the desired effect.
Light Alarm Clock
Now we’re going to take the last tip to the next level. Mornings may be the most difficult part of winter. There’s nothing like having to wake up in the pitch black when you can practically see your breath.
If the thought of that makes you groan, I’ve got amazing news. They actually make lamps that go off to an alarm. Which means you can put this lamp in your bedroom. One hour before your wake-up time, the light slowly starts to turn on. It takes a whole hour to get 100% on, mimicking the rising sun. Not only that, but this is the kind of lamp that helps your body make Vitamin D too!
So not only are you waking up naturally, to a soft, growing light, you’re also getting the sun exposure you need to keep your happy hormones working. If you suffer from seasonal depression, just this one tip could be a complete and total game changer for you.
Get Very Warm Clothes
To enjoy winter, you have to get some dominion over the cold. If the cold scares you… if you hate the cold… you’re going to be miserable by default.
By far the most important way to overcome the cold is to master layers. Layers is a way of dressing where, as you might have guessed, you wear layers of clothes. On the bottom you have a thermal, long-underwear style. Then a fleece. Then top it off with a 900 fill down jacket.
Combine this with thermal long underwear under jeans, and you are going to be toasty… well looking great. It’s true – winter is a great time for fashion. And if you embrace that, and get warm clothing, you’ll find yourself actually looking forward to exploring the winter wonderland outside!
Get Your Heart Beating
Now for the icing on the cake: exercise. Look, when it’s cold outside, you need to balance that out. One of the best ways to do that is exercise. When you get your heart pumping, you increase your circulation. You get that nice, warm 98 degree blood pumping through your veins, warming you from the inside out.
Also, did you know you can burn up to 3x the calories in the cold? How? Shivering! Shivering is designed to warm you up ASAP. So it literally melts fat to be able to do so. When you have the right clothes, you may begin to love long walks outside. It’s great exercise. It’s simply beautiful. And you’re burning 3x the calories! Not bad…
If you combine these 4 tips together, I know you’re going to see a marked improvement. In fact, you may even start to love winter. A lot of people do.