Four Ways To Fight Winter Depression Naturally
Do you find yourself feeling depressed and blue during the winter season? You're not alone. Seasonal affective disorder, a condition in which patients begin feeling depressed in late fall or early winter, but experience normal moods in the spring and summer, is estimated to affect as many as 10 million Americans. Luckily, there are several ways to lift your mood without resorting to prescription antidepressants.
Vitamin D Supplements
Your skin makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but in the winter, you don't see the sun too often. Research suggests that vitamin D deficiency may account for many of the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Visit your local vitamin store, and pick up a bottle of vitamin D supplements. Experts recommend taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day. Make sure you take your vitamin D supplements with food, since they are fat-soluble and your body won't absorb them well if you only take them with water.
Fish Oil and B Vitamins
Fish oil supplements are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which often help fight depression. B vitamins can also help treat mild depression, such as that experienced during the winter. Look for a B complex supplement that specifically contains folic acid and vitamin B6 for best results. When choosing a fish oil supplement, look for one that has been "purified," since these varieties are less likely to cause fishy-tasting burps. Take both supplements as recommended on the label.
Daily exercise can boost your levels of serotonin, also known as the "feel good hormone." It can be hard to make yourself exercise when you're fighting seasonal affective disorder, but once you get into the habit, you'll likely find that you enjoy the boost in mood it delivers. You don't have to exercise intensely to experience mood-elevating benefits. Even a 20-minute walk around a local store or a few minutes of dancing to your favorite hits can do the trick.
Kick the Coffee Habit
A lot of people turn to coffee when they're feeling cold and lethargic in the winter, but this habit does more harm than good. Caffeine lowers serotonin levels, which contributes to depression. Switch to decaff, or start drinking herbal tea in place of coffee. Most herbal teas are caffeine-free.
You can pick up vitamins and get more tips by visiting a local vitamin store like Corner Drugs. Keep in mind that if you are suffering from severe depression with thoughts of suicide, you should seek medical treatment promptly. The treatments above are meant to address mild to moderate seasonal depression, but may not be effective for long-term or severe depression.