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10 EFFECTIVE WAYS TO BEAT THE WINTER BLUES NATURALLY

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February is that time of year when the Winter Blues often hits the hardest. The novelty of cozy nights in and cute insta-worthy sweaters and winter coats have started to wear off. And getting out of bed in the mornings to another grey day has become more difficult. If you’re living up here in the Northern Hemisphere and feeling it too, read on for 10 effective ways to beat the Winter Blues naturally.

What is the Winter Blues?
 
The Winter Blues is a mild form of depression. You feel down, out of sorts and low in energy. You’re less interested in doing activities you’d normally enjoy and you have a desire to stay in bed for longer than you usually would. Then there’s that wanting to self-soothe with a little extra helping or two of your fave pasta dish. While this mash of feelings can bring us down over time, they’ll go come spring.

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The Winter Blues is thankfully different from experiencing full-blown seasonal depression, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  
 
SAD is much more acute and shows up as feelings of hopelessness, despair, lethargy, difficulty sleeping and focusing to the point of it affecting work and relationships, and changes in appetite that lead to overeating and noticeable weight gain.  It’s an ongoing form of deep depression that people suffer with for the entire winter season. While the Winter Blues expresses itself more mildly than the symptoms of SAD, that doesn’t mean it’s something to brush off. Rather, it’s your body signaling to you that you need to pay attention and take care of how you’re feeling so that your relationships, work, and everyday life are not affected. 

What Causes Winter Depression?

Most doctors agree that the Winter Blues comes about due to the “lack of daylight” that shorter winter days bring.
 
There are several ways that being exposed to less natural light affects the way we feel. Depending on just how little you’re getting, it may cause:
an over-production of melatonin, which leads to feeling more tired and less energetic
serotonin levels to dip, negatively impacting your mood
disruption to your internal clock body, increasing the amount of sleep needed to feel at your best, and
lower than needed levels of Vitamin D, leading to feelings of depression and anxiety.
 
So it’s not surprising that at this time of year we start acting like grumpy old bears, wishing we could spend our days curled up in bed until springtime.

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Winter Depression Symptoms to look out for:

Here are the symptoms to look out for so you can shake the Winter Blues effectively with the natural tips that follow:


1.Feelings of sadness and/or irritability
2.Lack of energy
3.Not feelign well-rested
4.Not wanting to socialize as mich as usual
5.Finding it hard to take initiative on things you otherwise would
6.Cravings and what feels like an insatiable appetite for cake and pasta(or is that just me?)

Luckily there are things we can do to zap winter moodiness and feel good all year long. Here are 10 effective ways to beat the Winter Blues naturally.
 

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How to Beat the Winter Blues Naturally
  
1.Get Enough Sunlight
Like a cat ready to pounce be ready to make the most of any rays you can get at this time of year. This means that whenever the sun is out and you’re able to stand in it, it’s really important to do so. Think sun-basking during lunchtime, or an afternoon walk. Playing with your kids in it, or combining workout time with fun in the sun. If you work at home, take advantage and strip down as much as you can to get those beautiful rays covering as much of your body as you can. Exposing yourself to the sun whenever possible during the winter months is what helps boost your Vit D and serotonin levels naturally.

Good to know: Your body needs about 20-30mins, three times a week without sunscreen to get the Vit D it needs to help keep you happy.
 
Pro-tip: Whenever possible schedule in a couple of sun-break getaways during this time. Even if it’s just for a few hours, knowing that there’s “sun” coming up on the calendar can be enough to keep you going.  
 
For example, I live in a city that stays in deep fog and heavy cloud for weeks at a time. But I know that only an hour away it’s possible to get above the fog-line and bask in the sun for a day – so I “schedule” to do this whenever I can!
 
2.Keep Active
I know that when Jack Frost’s nipping at your nose, the last thing you want to do is get outside and exercise. The good news is: you don’t have to!  
Give yourself permission to get your sweat on at home.
The point is to be moving – doing it regularly and vigorously enough to bring on a sweat. Exercising like this is a natural antidepressant, increasing your serotonin and endorphin levels, which both boost your mood.
 
Good to know: A vigorous workout needs to be no longer than 15-20mins, 3 times a week, to release the happy hormones that make us feel SO good!
 
Pro-tip: Doing it first thing in the morning means you’ve already got a “win” under your belt, which really means a double-win – a happy dance from the exercise and from knowing you’ve already accomplished something in your day!  
 
3.Get Consistent Sleep
It’s hard to be happy if you’re feeling weary and bleary-eyed. No matter the time of year, it’s important to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.   
But here’s the kicker: to feel refreshed, particularly at this time of year, it needs to be consistent and regular sleep. This means going to bed and waking up around the same time on weekdays AND weekends. When we don’t do this, we knock our internal body clock out of whack, making us feel groggy and irritable.
 
Pro-tip: set yourself up with a soothing night-time routine, one that has you winding down at a certain time each night, depending on when you have to get up in the morning. Light candles, turn-off devices and use this time for a relaxing bath or listening to a guided meditation.

4.Food Therapy:Eating Clean and Nutritionally Dense
I know. It’s miserable outside and we think that second helping of mac n’cheese or hot chocolate is all we need to feel good again. 
 
Good news: there’s definitely room for homemade hot chocolate! Just make sure it’s made using real non-dutched, natural cocoa powder. High in mood-boosting flavonoids, it’s a great treat to look forward to and enjoy at night as part of your wind-down routine.
 
It’s particularly important at this time of year to eat cleanly and nutritionally dense because that’s what helps to balance our mood, feel less tired and irritable and beat the winter blues naturally.
 
Pro-tip: Think foods that naturally contain high levels of Vit D such as mushrooms! Plus dark-leafy greens, fish, and grass-fed meats for protein and omega 3’s.
 
Think you’re not getting enough Omega 3’s in your diet? Check out our easy to take Juice Plus Omega Blend supplement: 
 

5.Soothing Essential Oils
Oils are a great way to uplift your mood, reduce anxiety and instill feelings of hope and motivation.
 
Pro-tip: The top 5 essential oils to use in a diffuser or add to a bath for beating the Winter Blues are:
Bergamot
Pink Grapefruit
Ylang Ylang
Patchouli
Frankincense
 
6.Insprired listening
Taking care of our mindset is important 24/7, but particularly at this time of year. Be mindful of what you’re listening to and create uplifting and energizing playlists or pop on an inspiring podcast or audiobook on your way to work or around home.
 
7.Queue Up the Funnies!
Yep, a binge or two on Netflix is allowed! Nothing quite beats the blues like a laugh-out-loud movie. We know that laughter stimulates processes in your brain that counter depressive symptoms – so queue up your fav comedies and enjoy guilt-free!

8.Stay Social
At this time of year, it can feel easier to simply stay at home and tuck yourself in for the night… after night, after night. But making and keeping appointments with friends and family will help you feel less isolated and the hugs and laughs you can have are oh so worth it for your emotional and mental health.
 
9.Get Even Cozier
I know I said earlier that the novelty of cozy nights in is probably wearing off, but !
 
It’s fascinating that the Scandinavians who have the some of the longest winters, do not think of winter as something to be endured. In fact, they embrace it by making it as cozy as possible and even have a word for it: hygge (pronounced hooga).
 
By simply deciding to change your thoughts around this time of year, you can make your days easier by actively choosing to embrace the weather more and resist it less.
 
10.Ramp Up the Fresh
Sometimes the simplest things are the best. Stuffy living spaces are energy zappers, so rather than leaving it until you start yawning, be sure to throw open those windows every hour or so (put a timer on) wherever you can.  
 
Sleeping with your bedroom window ajar will also enhance your sleep and help you wake feeling more refreshed!

 

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Summary

Winter Blues is a type of depression that some people experience during the winter months due to a lack of daylight.
 
Suffers can beat the Winter Blues making lifestyle adjustments, such as:
Getting Enough Sunlight
Keeping Active
Getting Consistent Sleep
Using Food as Therapy
Using Essential Oils
Inspirational Listening  
Queuing Up the Funnies
Staying Social
Getting Even Cozier
Letting In the Fresh Air
 

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