10 Simple Ways to Naturally Fight the Winter Blues

by - January 17, 2010

If any of you are like me, you suffer from mild to moderate winter depression, otherwise known as the winter blues.  I have written about this before on my blog.  Since I do not subscribe to the book of modern medicine (nothing wrong with it though!) I thought I would share some of my own known natural ways to keep the blues away this winter:
  1. Light therapy- These attractive light boxes are small enough to sit on your desk while you write, read, or surf the internet.  Sit under one for up to an hour a day, and the simulated sunlight will give your mood a much needed boost this winter.  Don't be swayed, these have become quite affordable in recent years.  Still can't afford it?  Make it a priority to leave your desk at work, or leave your house on those rare sunny days and take a short brisk walk.  Any little bit helps.

  2. Exercise- Exercise works wonders for lifting your spirits.  Believe me, I know it's hard to get into when you have the doldrums, but start off slow.  Don't push yourself too hard, and only do what you are comfortable with.  Eventually you will feel stronger, fit, and the natural endorphins your brain releases will stay with you all day.  The best part though?  Fitting into your Spring clothes once the snow all leaves and the birds start singing again!

  3. Water- While most people reach for a coffee or a tea to keep them awake, water is the most important liquid you can drink to stay alert and fight fatigue.  As mostly everyone knows, caffeine only works against you in this regard, dehydrating you and making you more tired once the kick has worn off.  If you absolutely cannot stay away from your favourite coffee drink, try to limit your intake in the dreary months and instead replace the caffeine with water.  I promise you it works.

  4. Plenty of sleep- As we all know, I have a hard time paying attention to this rule, but it is one that you owe it to yourself to do.  With all the craziness that we have to face on a daily basis, our body's need plenty of rest in order to restore, recharge, and rejuvenate ourselves for each and every day.  If you find it difficult to get a decent amount of sleep, try going to bed 20-30 minutes earlier every night for a week, and work your way up to a respectable bedtime.  It makes all the difference in the world.

  5. Nighttime Routine-  Along with getting more sleep, creating a nighttime routine for yourself not only helps you to feel more at ease and able to relax your mind on a nightly basis, it can also help with getting you to bed that extra hour or two earlier.  Create a routine that will be difficult to break.  Only do enjoyable, relaxing things that are planned in advance and stick to this schedule.  It will feel forced at first, but eventually it will come as second nature.  Ladies (and gents if you so wish), create a bath or shower routine right before bed.  It is suggested that a half hour before bed, a hot shower and a bar of natural lavender soap will have you off to dreamland in no time.  Try to use a natural moisturizer (I recommend Green Beaver's Hand and Body Lotion in Cranberry) and drink some herbal tea, such as chamomile or sleepy time tea.  No time to do any of this?  Throw a satchel of lavender into your pillow case, or use a lavender moisturizer on your face.  Works like a charm.

  6. Fish oil- I HIGHLY recommend the capsules my friends.  Drinking this stuff is NOT pleasant, and the lemon they try to incorporate into the liquid does not help the taste one bit.  Thankfully the capsules are taste free and easy!  Buy a bottle and pop them in your freezer and they will last forever.  They will help give you radiant skin, hair, and are known to combat depression.

  7. Gentle Cleanse-  Doing a gentle cleanse over the winter months is key in helping to fight the winter blues.  I strongly suggest staying away from any cleanse that asks you only to drink a liquid for a week, or to starve yourself in any way.  Renew Life First Cleanse is a wonderful baby step into the world of cleansing.  And best of all, it only promotes a healthy lifestyle, asking that you only TRY to give up alcohol, greasy and junky foods for one month.  Eradicating those things from your diet will give you a new lease on life, and you will feel like a million bucks.  I have personally taken this cleanse and can state firmly that I love it.  Two organic herbal pills in the morning, and two at night.  And best of all, all the ingredients are written boldly on the box!

  8. Add colour to your life- Buy a painting, change a room around, throw a bright square of fabric across the back of your couch.  Colourful vases will make you want to buy colourful flowers, and your mood will improve by ten mood points instantly.  Try things you have not tried before, you might like it!  Browse indoor flea markets and auctions on those cold weekend days and you might come home with a happy treasure to brighten your home.

  9. Vitamin B Complex and Vitamin C- These two important vitamins are your trusty sidekicks in the fight against the blahs.  Maybe THE most important.  Vitamin C will help boost your immunity to anything nasty trying to penetrate your system, and will help you to have an overall feeling of well being.  A quick way to test of you are Vitamin C deficient?  Look at your fingernails closely.  If you notice any bright white spots or indents near the middle of or bottom of the nail, chances are you need some Vitamin C stat!  Vitamin B complex helps boost your nervous system and provides what you need to fight lethargy and fatigue.  I love this killer combination.

  10. Eat the right kinds of foods- It is known that there are some foods out there that help stave away winter melancholy.  Almonds, green leafy vegetables, salmon, bananas, yoghurt, plain popcorn, egg yolks (plenty of protein over the winter months is key), lentils, oranges, and sunflower seeds are just a few that will help enhance your mood.  The next time you go grocery shopping, try incorporating some of these things into your diet if you don't already.  Play around with the food that is available to you over the winter, have some fun!
Unfortunately for most of us, the one thing we can be sure of is that winter comes every year.  And most likely it will overstay it's welcome.  But armed with the knowledge and a few simple rules for the winter months, there is no excuse to be just as energetic and productive as you are over the sunnier days if summer.  It's all about investing in your own well-being and taking a pro-active approach to the winter season.

Stop mourning winter and start enjoying all it has to offer.  It can be a lovely thing if you love it back.

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