It is not uncommon for people to come down with a case of the winter blues for a number of reasons. The holiday cheer has worn off giving way to colder weather and the condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD); the arrival of post-Christmas credit card statements; and a general lack of motivation. This combination can often lead to feelings of depression. But rather than becoming vulnerable to these factors, beat those winter blues naturally in a number of ways.
Develop a Routine and Set Goals
Depression can often take structure from your life and have you feeling like you can’t accomplish anything which in turn takes away from your feelings of self-worth. By establishing a daily schedule and setting achievable goals you will be contributing to your overall mental success.
Exercise is a winning prescription on many levels. It is a natural way of boosting endorphins (the feel good chemicals) which have a positive effect on the brain. In addition to the mental benefits are the obvious physical benefits of exercise which in turn can also boost feelings of self-confidence.
Getting out for a brisk walk a few times a week is all it takes to help get those endorphins going and have you feeling mentally fit.
Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep contributes to a number of illnesses including mental illness. Making lifestyle changes to change your sleep patterns can assist in the battle against depression. Set a sleep routine, trying to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Avoid taking naps and avoid distractions in your bedroom that keep you from sleeping such as the computer, television or cell phone. As your sleep improves so will your mental and physical well-being.
Meditation is very much encouraged a method for mood improvement. It is not something that comes easily or naturally to most since we tend to get caught up in our thoughts and often lose the ability to reflect and open our minds. The key is to start small. Find a quiet place and begin with 2-3 minutes a day and continue to work your way up. Meditation is an indispensable tool for coping with depression or anxiety.
Replace the Negative with Positive
Challenging negative thoughts and channeling them into positive ones is another great defense in the fight against depression. When a person is depressed they tend to get lost in the negative, always jumping to the worst conclusions. The trick is to change the thought process. The next time you call your self-worth into question stop and really determine if those negative thoughts are warranted. This process takes practice but if you begin to focus on the positives you can beat the negatives and gain control of your mental well-being.
Depression can often result from being stuck in a rut. If you challenge yourself to do something different and new it can work wonders. It can be something as simple as going to museum, sitting outside and reading a book or volunteering for a cause. By doing something outside of your norm you are altering the chemicals in your brain (specifically dopamine which is associated with pleasure and enjoyment).
Eating the right foods can also contribute to your overall mental health. There is evidence to support certain foods that help ease depression Eating healthy in general can be a mood enhancer but a there some foods that increase serotonin that should be included into a “happy” diet.
These serotonin enhancing foods include:
• Fish oil and fish such as salmon and tuna that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids as well as walnuts
• Healthy fats such as coconut and flaxseed oil
• Foods that are high in folic acid like spinach and avocado
• Vitamin B rich foods like bell peppers,
• Magnesium rich foods such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, black beans, bananas and dark leafy greens
• Dark chocolate
One of the things to steer clear of is coffee as caffeine can affect the serotonin synthesis in the brain. Instead enjoy a soothing cup of chamomile which contains relaxing properties that may also assist with getting a good night’s sleep (which we’ve already seen combats depression).
Getting the right vitamins and minerals is key when it comes to fighting mental illness. While incorporating these essential nutrients into your diet is important, a boost is sometimes required. That boost can come in the form of IV Vitamin Therapy, one of the treatments offered at Total Wellness. IV Vitamin Therapy increases the body’s absorption of vitamins and shows significant improvements in energy, mood and immune status.