The colder weather means that up to a whopping 12 million people across Europe will suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). In fact, the winter blues effects us all to some degree – in the UK alone up to 2 million people are affected. If you feel sad, a little bit listless, feel like you need to sleep longer than usual, then there is a chance you too could be suffering from The Winter Blues.
The blues are typically brought on by the lack of sunlight affecting the hypothalamus, which in turn affects the formation of neurotransmitters i.e low levels of serotonin (happy hormone) and higher levels of melatonin (the sleep hormone)
The most effective way to beat the winter blues is to keep active. I know it seems like the last thing you would want to do if you’re feeling like a duvet day, but trust me, you will reap the benefits both physically and mentally. Research shows that keeping active during the winter months is as helpful as light medical treatment for the blues.
Also keeping warm is key, so activity that warms you up, and keeps you warm for a while afterwards, can have huge benefits. Spinning is one such activity as it keeps you warm throughout and makes sure that your heart rate is at it’s most effective.
Diet is also key in beating the dreaded blues, so try to eat foods that boost serotonin such as: walnuts, pineapple, bananas, kiwis, plums and tomatoes.
Take the right supplements: Fish oil is the number one supplement for overcoming SAD. If you think about Iceland, one of the northernmost countries in the world, yet the lowest rates of SAD – according to research it’s due to their consumption of fish…247 pounds per person per year! Two other great supplements to try out in winter are Vitamin D and Tryptophan (an amino acid that’s the precursor of the happiness brain chemical serotonin)
Something you can try at home to help, is mediation. There are endless reasons to practice meditation, and beating the blues is one of them.
So get moving this winter, and make sure you take part in some heart boosting activity, eat well and often, take your supplements and get plenty of rest. That should see you through to the summertime!