3 Simple Ways to Fight the Winter Blues

Mandi Dunlap

A snow-covered section of woods and barren trees with a stream running through it. Though the scenery can be beautiful, seasonal affected disorder presents a real challenge to all of us.

As the clock strikes 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday each November, daylight saving comes to an end and early sunsets make for dark winter days. Not only are these days darker in a physical sense, but they can also bring on a darker connotation mentally and emotionally. According to a study conducted by Columbia University Irving Medical Center, seasonal affective disorder affects 10 million Americans. An even greater portion of Americans, many likely undiagnosed, suffer from milder cases of the winter blues.

Clickbait stories can fill your digital newsfeed with promises of cutting-edge diets and activities to boost your mood, but Dr. Tiffany Bozovich, owner of Bozovich Wellness Center in Chesterton, Indiana, suggests keeping it simple.

How to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder

Bozovich breaks down her defense against winter blues into three steps:

  1. Get outside in the winter months… despite the cold. “It’s most important to get out in nature for even short stretches of time every day,” Bozovich advises. She recommends visiting a natural body of water if possible. “There is just a sense of peace and calming seeing the water.”
  2. Increase your water intake. Dehydration can definitely make you feel lethargic and just blah,” Bozovich says. “It’s important to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day as a minimum. If you’re working out, you need even more water than that. In the winter, people tend to not drink as much water [when working out] because they aren’t feeling as hot and sweaty.
  3. Introduce supplements into your lifestyle. “If there are any two supplements people should be taking, they are vitamin D and omega-3 fish oils,” Bozovich says. She warns against simply buying them at a grocery or drug store, however, because they’re not always regulated. “I recommend using professional grade supplements and talking to your primary care physician or nurse practitioner about what they recommend.”

Other Factors to Consider

Bozovich also adds that it’s important to monitor and decrease sugar intake if prone to feeling down in the dreary months. “Sugar is probably the number one offender that can make things worse during the winter.” In the holiday season especially, people ingest more sugar than they normally do. This can deplete the gut of good bacteria.

Serotonin is made in the gut, so if your gut isn’t working well, that little happy pill in your internal body isn’t working and you’re at higher risk to be affected with depression and anxiety.

If you find that the suggestions mentioned above aren’t cutting it for you, reach out to your primary care provider. They can help get to the root of the problem of seasonal affective disorder. Just because the frigid temperatures and darkness of the winter months can make the outside feel doom-and-gloom, doesn’t mean you have to feel that way on the inside.

February 21, 2023


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