Have the “Fall Back” Blues? Boost Your Mood on Short, Dark Winter Days


Have the “Fall Back” Blues? Boost Your Mood on Short, Dark Winter Days

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If you have ever noticed that your mood seems to darken progressively along with the fading of sunny fall days into dark winter weeks, you are not alone. Though there is still a great deal that’s unknown about exactly what causes the calendar-based depression known as “seasonal affective disorder,” scientists agree that it is a very real condition.

A key part of the Skinny Strong Living program is understanding our own natural tendencies and figure out a way of living that incorporates plenty of healthy activities and foods to balance out the things that cause us sadness or anxiety. Luckily, there are many ways to beat the so-called winter blues.

Make your own morning light. Scientists have found that exposure to bright light early in the morning—when your body takes cues from the darkness, making it tough to get out of bed—is a simple, effective way to reset your circadian rhythms. Invest in a good light box designed to treat SAD.

Curb your sugar intake. Winter holidays and cold weather seem to put our appetites in overdrive, and high-sugar treats are particularly accessible and addictive. But overindulging in comforting sweets and white-flour snacks can lead to mood crashes, making you feel even more sluggish than before. If you need a hit of sweetness, opt for a small square of endorphin-boosting dark chocolate—and then step away from the kitchen!

Get outside as often as you can. Yes, it’s dark at 5 p.m. Yes, it can be chilly, especially if you’re up north! But fresh air and heart-pumping activities like jogging or just walking the neighborhood do a world of good to keep spirits high. Grab a friendly coworker and make a habit of walking outside for at least 30 minutes during your lunch break—you’ll soak up whatever vitamin D you can, even in hazy, low-winter-sun conditions.

Consume plenty of omega-3s. These nutritional, anti-inflammatory powerhouses from your healthy eating arsenal are more important than ever. This means fatty fishes like salmon, tuna, sardines, and rainbow trout; fortified eggs, yogurt, juice, and milk (which can also be great sources of vitamin D); and nuts and grains like walnuts, oatmeal, flaxseed, and pumpkin seeds. As an alternative, try supplements that have the doctor-formulated 7:1 EPA to DHA ratio needed to elevate and stabilize your mood.

Visit your friends and family. Remember the support systems we talked about when you began your Skinny Strong journey? Now’s the time to boost your mood with good old-fashioned social interaction. Make a plan to try the new restaurant in town, grab tickets to a local theater production, hit up the art gallery on Friday night—or just spend an evening together playing cards or board games.

 

Your Skinny Strong Takeaways:

Skinny: Your sugar intake. You’ll see it’s easier to build happiness and energy through eating satisfying, delicious meals with veggies and lean protein. Decide to say “no” to the dishes that are heavy on sugar and flour.

Strong: Your morning routine by investing in a SAD light or getting a friend to agree to “sweat it up” with you! Hit the gym earlier in the morning. The sun is up: Why not you?

 

I’m so happy to welcome you to our community. I founded Skinny Strong to inspire and empower individuals to thrive in their health and beauty. Skinny Strong is inspired by my own health challenges, and the discoveries I’ve made along the way that have given me the freedom to let go of confusion and guilt, take action and start living!

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