The Pittsburgh region can be dark and gloomy during the winter months. Fear not! There are myriad ways to bolster your defenses to fight the winter blues.
- Stay active. When the sun is shining it is easy to remain active and enjoy the outdoors. But it might take a little more discipline to maintain an active state when it’s cold. Just remember the less active you are, the more your energy becomes depleted. So, get outside, try a winter sport or take a winter hike—you might marvel at how different the terrain is all covered in snow and get the extra mood boost that the outdoors provides.
- Be very intentional in what you are consuming. During the holiday season and cold weather months we crave more fat and carbs. Those kinds of foods actually deplete our energy and cause shifts in weight and mood. Depression and energy does have a metabolic component so by consuming foods that are easily metabolized and nourishing, our energy and mood can be improved.
- Use Vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D has been studied as a major component in seasonal depression as well as a host of medical and mental health issues. Take a high quality supplement to increase your body’s stores of it especially during the winter months.
- Get as much natural light as possible. Overhead lighting can actually confuse your circadian rhythm and disrupt the sleep/wake cycle. It really is the sun’s energy which increases our Vitamin D and has a major impact on our cellular and neurochemical functions.
- Get your temperature up. Activities such as taking a hot bath, sitting in a hot tub or sauna and taking a hot yoga class can be very soothing during the cold winter months.