Ways to beat the Winter Blues:

Seasonal Affective Disorder (appropriately named SAD) is very real and can be quite frustrating for some. SAD is a form of depression that usually begins in late autumn or early winter and fades as the weather improves people may feel depressed, irritable, lethargic, and have trouble waking up in the morning—especially when it’s still dark out.

· Make your environment brighter- opening blinds and turning on lights can be helpful when your body is craving more daylight

· Eat smarter- certain foods like chocolate can improve your mood, but high sugar and high carbohydrate foods can ultimately increase depression and anxiety. Try eating more oily fish, brazil nuts, oats, bananas, lentils, chicken and spinach. Try to reduce caffeine, sugar and alcohol.

· Simulate Dawn- light in the bedroom when you need to wake up can make is easier to get out of bed in the morning

· Exercise – A 2005 Harvard study found that walking fast for 35mins per day 5x/week or 60mins per day 3x/week improved symptoms of mild to moderate depression

· Listen to music – a study in 2013 found that listening to upbeat or cheery music significantly improved mood in both the short and long term

· Plan a vacation- research shows that planning a holiday causes a significant increase in overall happiness, maybe because we have something to look forward to

· Get outside – Spending time outside (even when it’s chilly!) can improve focus, reduce symptoms of SAD, and lower stress levels

· Stock up on vitamin D – Take a supplement during the winter months. Lots of diseases are linked to low vitamin D levels, including depression

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