Tips to Help Cure the Winter Blues

February. Even with the recent unseasonably warm temperatures, 1 in 10 in Minnesotans are struggling with winter.  The decreased intensity and hours of the sunlight stay constant regardless of the early thaw. The winter blues and its’ more incapacitating big brother Seasonal Affective Disorder make it feel like the last few months until spring stretch on forever.

Common symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder are:

This is my first full Minnesota winter, compounded by the fact that I spent the past 15 years in sunnier climates. My body is admittedly confused and dismayed.  Here is what I find helpful for getting the bounce back in my step.

Acupuncture:  Of course.  How could a body system tune-up and reboot do anything but help greatly in this scenario?  Hands-down the biggest same-day day results in mood, energy, clear thinking, and feeling a renewed ability to cope.  If you can only do one thing on this list, choose acupuncture.

Chinese Herbs: Many patterns of deficiency and imbalance get worse in cold weather so having the daily fortification of a personalized herbal formula is fantastic.

Sun lamps:  I love mine.  I even named it.  I spend quality time with it every morning.Sunrise Lights:  I have one of these too!  When you have to get up before the sun, this is the way to go.

Exercise:  This one is tough.  It can be very hard to motivate when you all you want to do is hide under three blankets on the couch but moving your body (even just some gentle stretching) will improve mood and energy.

Vitamin D:  Or as I like to call it “sunshine in a capsule”.  It is impossible to get the minimum 10 minutes of direct sunshine a day, on more than just your face, to produce enough of it on your own in Minnesota in the winter.  No, sun shining through a window won’t work.  So we are all deficient and this supplement is a must.

Vitamins B6 and B12: These vitamins give a nice little energy boost.  I mostly use them on days I feel particularly run down.

Essential Oils: Provide an instant temporary lift.  You can use a diffuser or direct palm inhalation.  Try any of these: Juniper, Lemon, Lime, Peppermint, Rosemary, Lavender.

Self Care: It’s easy to let everything slide when you aren’t feeling your best.  But it is always worth it to take those small steps for the cumulative effect. Try to keep making good food choices, get good sleep, and stay hydrated. Spend time with your friends and family (but remember: a hangover will negate any positive effects the socializing gives you). Go out and enjoy what inspires you: the outdoors, art museums, music shows, and sports games.  Take joy in the little things.

(Spring officially starts March 20.  That’s only a few weeks away!)