Hi, bbs!! As we enter the colder months and daylight savings is in full effect, it seems easier and easier to fall into a seasonal depression. it’s so important that we all step up our self-care game and check in with ourselves and friends. Today I’m coming at you with all the tips for feeling your best even when it’s dark and gloomy outside.
A Bit of Science About SAD
Daylight is SO important to us humans. Natural light controls our mood, sleep, appetite, temperature, and sex drive. All VERY important things. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) occurs when the days are shorter, darker, and colder.
When it’s dark outside, our pineal gland produces more of a chemical called melatonin- the sleep chemical. When this happens, we are more tired and drowsy throughout the day. Our circadian rhythm (which tells us when to sleep, wake up, and perform tasks) is also shifted due to the change in daylight.
Easing Seasonal Affective Disorder
Boost Vitamin D
I preach about vitamin D all the time (check out its benefits for immune health here). It’s just that good for you! A 2014 study published in the journal “Medical Hypotheses” suggested that low vitamin D contributes to the development of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Vitamin D helps the brain in producing serotonin and dopamine- the two happy chemicals in the brain.
Make the Mornings Your B!tch
Morning routines have SO many benefits to them, such as boosting energy levels, developing healthy habits, and lowering stress. Waking up early and having a strong morning routine that gives you time to focus on you is so beneficial to starting your day off on the right foot.
If you need inspiration for a stellar morning routine, check out this post.
Become a Crazy Plant Lady
Plants are cute and functional, so sign me up! Plants connect us to the outdoors, which helps us feel happier and grounded. This is especially great for my city peeps. Plants also help boost your immune system, improve air quality, and improve mental health!
Working out does wonders both physically and mentally. It releases endorphins that ward off anxiety and depression, as well as reducing stress. It will also help increase your energy levels. Besides all this, you’ll get stronger, burn fat, and feel more confident.
Need some workout motivation? I’ve got you covered! We talk about workout motivation here.
Use The Power of Smell
The power of smell is MAJOR and using essential oils to help combat SAD is easy and powerful. Essential oils affect us by stimulating the limbic system- the part of the brain associated with memories and emotions. Some great options are bergamot, lavender, vetiver, and citrus scents.
Natural light is key for swerving SAD. I like to think of it as nature’s caffeine. It boosts energy, serotonin, and helps you feel more grounded. It can also increase vitamin D production, which we love. Try taking more walks, doing some work or reading outside, or taking your workouts outdoors.
Eat More Mood-Boosting Foods
Although you can’t get serotonin directly from food, you can consume tryptophan- an amino acid that’s converted to serotonin in your brain. Research shows that pairing carbs with high-tryptophan foods can make these foods more effective in boosting your mood.
Along with eating the right foods, it’s also important to make sure that your gut is in check. Your gut and brain are so connected. Healthy gut = healthy brain. For more on this check out this blog post.
Meditation can be hard, but once you make a habit of trying every day, it becomes easier and easier. It’s so beneficial for your brain to take some time every day to meditate. Even starting with 5-minute meditations can be so great for your mental (there’s a ton of guided meditation on YouTube). I try doing this right away when I wake up in the morning before I check my phone.
Fake It Til You Make It
Lastly, we have lightbox therapy. If you cant get the real deal, opt for some sunlight in a box. Lightbox therapy mimics natural sunlight, therefore giving you the same benefits of natural light. This is recommended by many doctors and therapists for patients suffering from SAD.
I hope you end up using some of these tips and tricks for curing seasonal depression. These next couple of months may be hard and stressful, but the one thing you can control is yourself, and that starts with taking care of you!
For more on my story and health coaching, click here! ☻