Did you know that this past November in Toronto had a new record for the lack of sunlight?
This isn’t good news for people whose moods are really affected by the winter blues. Many people get sad, irritable, anxious, and depressed—which are all quite common symptoms as a result of our climate.
There are a few things we can do however to help us boost our moods over these long, dark and dreary months.
Get my tips below!
Take Enough Vitamin D3.
This seems like a given, but it’s not always the case. When I talk to people about taking vitamin D the typical response is one of the following:
“I used to!”
“I know I should, but I just don’t remember.”
“Oh everyone is low in vitamin D and I’m sure I am too!”
I would argue that keeping your vitamin D levels balanced is one of the main things we can do to keep our moods boosted during the winter. Why? Because vitamin D helps to control many functions in our bodies.
- It promotes calcium absorption in the body (without adequate vitamin D, calcium is not absorbed properly).
- It is necessary for bone growth.
- It helps with cell growth and immune function (it helps us stay healthy!).
So you can see it has a huge effect on our bodies and without it our bodies can suffer. I recommend getting tested to assess your levels.
Unfortunately it’s not covered (because everyone is low) but costs about $35 (in Canada) and it might give you some answers as to why you’re feeling a certain way during the colder months when we don’t get enough sun.
You may find after getting tested that your body needs more than what is recommended (600UI for children 1-13; 600UI for adults up to 70 and 800 for adults 70+). I was low and started taking 2000UI-5000UI daily and my levels balanced out. Everyone is different however and it’s important to be be checked.
Eat Foods That Boost Your Mood.
Many people don’t realize that we can boost our moods with food! I recommend eating more mood-boosting foods throughout the winter months (or when you’re generally feeling unwell mentally).
A few of them are:
- Wild salmon
- Dark leafy greens
- Eggs (pastured or organic are preferred for maximum benefits)
- Bell peppers
- Fermented foods
Get the complete list and info about mood-boosting foods here.
This is a hard one for many of us, but it’s necessary for getting through the winter in a decent mood. I believe it can happen in one of two ways:
Inside: Practice hygge (pronounced hue-guh) by sitting in front of a fire, getting a pair of big cozy socks and sweater, sipping warm drinks, playing more board games, reading more books, listening to jazz (my favourite!) or a cozy podcast, having people over. Genuinely try to create a cozy space in your home so you can enjoy being inside during the colder months. It will help get you through the winter months I promise!
Outside: Go for hikes in nature, get away from the city (not everyone can afford a week away in the sun, but perhaps you can afford to get away from the city for a day trip or overnight somewhere), skate on a trail, get cozy by an outdoor fire with a warm drink.
This year we’re going to try snowshoeing at our cottage and I tried cross-country skiing once and loved it. Try something new!
One thing I keep telling the kids these days is to “Dress for the weather!” (they don’t listen to this advice all the time!). When we dress for the weather we’re more apt to enjoy being outside. If you can, invest in a good pair of boots, coat, mitts and hat so you’re always warm outside.
I hope these tips help you beat the winter blues! Try choosing just one of these tips to see if they make a difference this season.