Tips for Blasting the Winter Blues

Here in Seattle, winter can take its toll. After the seventh straight gray and drizzly day, you start to feel a little punchy, and act out in all kinds of ways: eating junk food, feeling grumpy, getting a little road ragey, binge watching Netflix – you name it, all in the hopes of finding some way to beat the gray sky blues. This inspired me to come up with a few nutrition-oriented ways to fight back against this seasonal phenomenon. 

  1. Get that Vitamin D! – definitely in northern climates, but also anywhere that it’s not sunny during the winter or where you are in an office during most of the daylight hours, it’s important to get some vitamin D. Most people need 2,000 IU per day. This can help with mood, bone health, immunity and even fertility (1)!
  2. Get out and move – Don’t let the rain or snow or sleet even keep you inside! Get some good gear, like a waterproof rain jacket, some water-proof pants, a good hat and boots and get out there!
  3. Nosh on some hearty soup – I have been really digging my instant pot this year, and I think it’s because soups are so easy to make in it, especially those with long-cooking grains and legumes like chickpeas, white beans, black beans, wild rice, farro and others. Add in some fresh herbs, good broth and veggies and you have a satisfying and warming meal. 
  4. Enjoy your favorite hot beverage – whether it’s tea, cocoa, a creamy oat milk latte or a maybe a little happy hour hot toddy, a special hot beverage can be just the trick. 
  5. Treat yourself – getting a little treat can boost our mood a bit, especially if we take the time to savor it and echew any guilt we might associate with it. Whether that’s  a cupcake, a cookie, a doughnut or some other special wintery treat, reward yourself for making it through this dreary time of year. 

Please note that if you are experiencing more than just a little bout of seasonal blues, you may have a more serious condition called seasonal affective disorder. If that’s the case, contact your doctor and get a referral to a licensed therapist or psychiatrist, who can help you find treatment techniques. 

References

  1. Lerchbaum, E., & Obermayer-Pietsch, B. (2012). Vitamin D and fertility: a systematic review. European Journal of Endocrinology, 166(5), 765–778. https://doi.org/10.1530/EJE-11-0984

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