If you’re starting to feel like nothing but a very full, very strong pot of coffee will get you out of bed, join the club.
The warmth of summer is months away, the golden leaves are gone or molded with snowmelt, the days are cold and dark, and the nights are long — welcome to winter.
Now, don’t get us wrong — the snow cap Rockies, a warm cup of peppermint hot cocoa, and holiday joy can surely lighten the spirits of many during this time of the year, but yet a large sum of the population could say otherwise.
In fact, as many as 20% of Americans are affected by a (deep) dip in their mood each winter, which is why we are sharing 5 strategies to beat the wintertime blues.
Why are you feeling SAD?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is most often characterized by moodiness, cravings for simple carbohydrates, weight gain, fatigue, and melancholy.
The first of November is perhaps the beginning of a 4-5 month journey into darkness. Decreased sunlight during the winter months is the main reason why people develop SAD. Since less daylight can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm (body clock), the natural product of melatonin, a hormone that makes us feel sleepy — which is triggered by darkness, increases. So for those who aren’t getting a daily dose of sunshine SAD is often the reason for those oh-so-tiresome wintertime blues and blah.
This year, with these 5 strategies, you will be able to brace the wintertime blues with more light, more ease, and comfort to enjoy this season!
- Cook yourself a nourishing infused meal
Incorporate some beautifully grounding seasonal foods (think squash, potatoes, parsnip, and other root vegetables) into a warm soup or stew, add a pinch or two of our classic savory CBD spice and let it comfort your entire being.
Loading up your plate with seasonal foods not only provides your body with essential vitamins it needs during the current time of year, but also reduces your carbon footprint. Foods grown out of season take a substantial amount of resources in one of two ways: either it takes a lot of extra energy to recreate the natural growing season in an artificial way or it uses a tremendous amount of fossil fuel to transport the food across the world to you. Try out our favorite autumn / winter side dish, or snack that is sweet, filling, and grounding!
- Increase your vitamin D intake
Vitamin D is involved in the release of neurotransmitters (i.e. dopamine and serotonin) that regulate moods, and we naturally get less of it during the winter months. If you can, get outside or sit by a window for a few minutes and let the sun hit your face, especially in the morning hours. If you live in a place that’s cold and rainy try getting vitamin D in other ways: it’s found in eggs and fish; or if you’re plant-based, in certain grains and non-dairy milks. A good-quality supplement can also really help.
- Commit to a regular exercise routine:
A 2005 study from Harvard suggests that walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times a week, or 60 mixtures a day three times a week improved symptoms of mild to moderate depression.
Exercising under bright lights may be even better for seasonal depression: A preliminary study found that exercise under bright light improved general mental health, social functioning, depression symptoms, and vitality, while exercise in ordinary light improved vitality only. Learn more about how you can further improve your well-being with a cortisol conscious workout
- Incorporate CBD into your day
Cannabidiol is a natural plant-based oil that contains phyto (plant) chemicals called cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are “feel good” molecules naturally made by the body when we are feeling relaxed and secure or involved in something that makes us happy, like hugging someone we care about or sitting down to a meal we are looking forward to. Cannabinoids are also released when we sleep well and exercise. Cannabinoids bind to little docking stations in our bodies called cannabinoid receptors that help stimulate those feel-good responses.
In more studies, a high quality CBD oil appears to have a positive interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain. Keeping serotonin levels balanced is often a key therapy for people with both anxiety and depression. When serotonin levels are in balance, the mind is in a more blissful state. Serotonin impacts a range of functions in the body, including a person’s emotional state and feelings of well-being or happiness. While there is some promising evidence for the future use of CBD as an anti-depressant, we encourage all current and future consumers to do their own research and exploration with their health professionals.
- Keep your body hydrated:
This will help remedy some of the physically dryness of winter and support your immune system. Drink lots of water and herbal tea — chamomile is especially calming. Coat your body with lotion or oil, slather on lip balm, and protect your skin from the cold with scarves and gloves. Sometimes giving your body some love can help the world seem a little better.
- Surround yourself with people you love
If winter already brings you down. Isolation only makes things worse. Invite a friend over for dinner, have a movie night with your partner, schedule a coffee date with your sibling — whoever they are, reach out to your people and find solace in their company.
For the vast majority of those experiencing SAD, following the simple steps above can truly help you to shake the blues. So take a walk or hit the gym, get some sunshine or bask in the light, and be sure to eat right, as well as schedule time to deepen bonds with family and friends.
And before you know it, spring will arrive and with it the joys of longer days, warmer weather and happier spirits!