Research has shown that a brisk walk, in the middle of the day particularly if sunny, can be very helpful for coping with the winter blues. Otherwise any form of exercise on a daily basis will release endorphins, the feel-good factor hormones.
Supplement with Vitamin D & Fish Oil
SAD has been linked to a deficiency in Vitamin D. Normally a good summer enables our bodies to store enough Vitamin D to see us through the winter months. Supplementation is advisable if the summer has been disappointing. Food sources of vitamin D include oily fish such as herring, sardines, trout, mackerel, salmon, and eggs – aim to eat oily fish three times a week. If you don’t like fish then supplement your diet with omega 3 or cod liver oil capsules. Aim for 1,000mg with each meal, building up to this dose slowly over two weeks.
A lack of folate, vitamin B12 and magnesium are all linked to depression as well, so ensure you eat plenty of whole grains, pulses, dark leafy greens, nuts, dried apricots and dark chocolate.
Epsom Salt Baths
A great way to relax and enhance your mood is to take a bath in Epsom salts containing magnesium stearate which is absorbed through the skin. Recommended essential oils to add to the experience are lemon, grapefruit, lavender and rosewood.
Plan a holiday in the sun
If you dread the winter and are prone to SAD then plan your longest holiday during the winter months. Retreating to a warm, sunny climate not only enhances your mood but also replenishes your stocks of vitamin D. You will need to your expose skin for 15-20 minutes without sun block so aim to do this early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not so intense.
St John’s Wort is a useful herb to lift your mood. Over the last 20 years studies have shown that St John’s Wort can help boost the happy hormone, serotonin. Take a 300mg capsule three times a day.
In addition to obtaining omega 3 from oily fish and eggs, add some avocados, nuts and seeds to your diet for the healthy fats they contain. Also, include cold pressed olive oil, hempseed oil, flaxseed oil and rapeseed oil in salad dressings or drizzled over steamed or roasted vegetables!
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