As the colder days of January/February descend among us, it's natural for most of us to find ourselves in a funk. Our mood sowers, fatigue overwhelms us, and we have less of a propensity to leave our homes. We become the antisocial version of ourselves as the cold weather zaps every bit of energy. However, there are ways we can fight back the winter blues! From increasing our intake of Vitamin D, to limiting refined sugars, these approaches will help us feel 'normal' again.
1. Supplementation of Vitamin D - During the winter, our body synthesizes less Vitamin D as there is a lack of sunlight (and shorter days). With this deficiency, our mood, sleep, as well as serotonin levels get affected. A lack of Vitamin D can have a direct correlation on our brain health, thus increasing depression-like symptoms. Taking a Vitamin D supplement daily, as well as purchasing a "Happy Light," can work wonders on our mood.
2. Incorporating Omega-3s- As the brain is 60% fat, we want to feed it intelligently. Omega 3 fatty acids increase our dopamine levels and strengthens our synapses. Fun fact: this supplement also contains high adiponectin levels which help fight inflammation in our bodies.
3. Exercise - When it comes to fitness, our brain releases endorphins, feel-good chemical neurotransmitters that send messages throughout our body. Note: if you're not someone who delights in taking 6am classes, don't force yourself to for the sake of 'being healthy.' Exercise is effective at any time of day that works best for YOU!
4. Limiting sugar and simple carbs - During this time of sensitivity, do your body (and brain) a big favor by limiting the amount of refined and processed foods. The long term effect will only make you feel worse, with an added touch of inflammation and digestive distress.
5. Probiotics and prebiotics - 95% of the serotonin produced in our body comes from the gut. When we feed it these supplements, we not only improve the absorption and digestion of food, but our mind feels more at ease.