7 Tips to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

winter blues, depression, anxiety, SAD, seasonal affective disorder, hopeless feeling, always crying, feel down, feel blue, depressed, how to beat winter bluesLong days, cold weather, piles of snow, and no sunshine.

Winter is the pits. Amiright?

Feeling completely unmotivated? I get it. Some days all I want to do is stay in my comfy sweats and cuddle on the couch with a giant cup of tea. And cookiesssss.

Have you noticed that you get down in the dumps ONLY in the winter? It’s something that I’ve struggled with since my 20s and something I still have to work on in my 30s. It used to be MUCH worse–I cried often, felt hopeless, got stressed just at the thought of snow, and I’d have absolutely zero desire to exercise or be social.

Does any of that sound familiar? If so, you could be dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Some symptoms associated with SAD are hopelessness, increased appetite, weight gain, low energy/lethargy, disturbed or increased sleep, negative thoughts, loss of interest in activities and irritability. In most cases, SAD symptoms peak during the months of December-February and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. Phew!

Fortunately, there are plenty of natural ways to eliminate SAD. Here are 7 tips to combat the blues:

1) Get plenty of rest. You should log in 7 to 9 hours every night. Try to keep the same schedule on weekends. Have trouble falling asleep? Try my 10 Tips to Make Your Bedroom a Tranquil Sanctuary.

2) Eat foods rich in B vitamins, as well as Omega-3. Your meals should consist of quality protein (grass-fed beef, organic chicken, wild-caught salmon), naturally gluten-free grains (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, millet), and healthy fats (olive oil, flax seeds, chia seeds, avocado, nuts, anchovies, sardines) and of course, plenty of fresh vegetables and some fruits.

3) Steer clear of stimulants like alcohol, caffeine and sugar. Alcohol not only causes sluggish liver (when your liver has a hard time removing toxins from your system), but it can also make depression worse and disrupt sleep patterns. Caffeine can also disrupt your sleep patterns, as it can stay in your system for up to 12 hours! Additionally, for some, it may cause irritability. And lastly, eating refined sugar on a regular basis can cause inflammation, resulting in negative effects on your weight, skin, sleep, energy, stress level and mood. Think you may be addicted to sugar? Read about my 10-day solution HERE.

4) Get moving! Moving your body daily is extremely beneficial, but strive for at least 4-5 days per week. If you can’t make it to the gym, there’s no reason you can’t complete a workout at home or just bundle up and go outside for a 15-minute walk.

5) Relax your mind + body. Yoga helps to create life balance, builds confidence and provides the opportunity to surround yourself with positive and like-minded people. It has changed my life and I cannot recommend it enough. Meditation also has many health benefits, from lowering blood pressure to increasing immunity. Not sure where to start? Try this breathing technique once a day:

-Sit in a comfortable position on a chair or bed.
-Close your eyes and relax your jaw, mouth, neck, shoulders, and so on.
-Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of 4.
-Then hold your breath for a count of 4.
-Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of 4.
-Repeat for 4 breath cycles.

6) Laugh daily + find what makes you happy. Spend time with loved ones, watch old family videos, listen to your favorite radio show, do a craft, listen to music, write in a journal, bake brownies,  color, dance or watch a funny movie. After all, laughter IS the best medicine 😉

7) Light therapy. When possible, sit near a window to get as much natural light as possible. Light therapy is another option and requires a special lamp with a bright light that mimics natural sunlight. You can use this in the morning upon rising or during the day. Be sure not to use at night, as it will interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

Think you need additional support? Sometimes supplements are needed, so sign up for my Private Coaching and I’ll create a custom plan for you.

-Claudia xo


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