My poor husband made me cry yesterday. He told me that the temperature was dropping into the teens tonight. I’m not kidding – I shed tears over this. Not just one tear, multiple tears. I mean it was only like five tears, but still, I cried. OK, enough of about the tears. Here’s my point, I don’t like cold weather. I’m willing to put up with pretty cold temperatures but at some point I literally can’t even and I think it’s safe to say that once the temperature hits the teens and the Google machine tells me that snow is pending then I’m done.
I’ve been in Maryland for over a decade so while I still cry five tears when winter hits I also have some tricks that I use to get me through until I can feel my toes again. First off, I undoubtedly experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is extremely common, and according to the MayoClinic, it is “…a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.” I’m pretty sure the fact that I cried is a good indicator of my level of “moody.”
The specific causes of SAD are unknown but it is believed that it is related to a lack of sunlight during the winter months which can throw off our serotonin and melatonin levels in our brains. My friend who is a pharmacist tells me this is bad because a deficit of serotonin can lead to depression and melatonin helps control our sleep and wake cycles which when thrown off can result in moodiness and fatigue. Frankly, I’m not sure why someone hasn’t found a cure for SAD because that person would be RICH. But, alas, there is no cure, so instead I take to some natural solutions that I probably should have started sooner, apparently.
I take a really great multivitamin and Omega-3 supplement every day but I like to tack on a few more items during the winter. My primary addition is vitamin D which is often associated with SAD and I’m likely low on during the winter when I don’t get out in the sun as much. I also up my magnesium intake both because it helps with absorbing the vitamin D and because it helps to promote deeper sleep which may improve my melatonin levels.
This is easier said than done, I know. But I have found that layering clothes and wearing long underwear makes a world of difference. I don’t worry about looking ridiculous because it’s all under my clothes. And considering I have a 10-minute walk from my car to my office every day, I don’t think I’d care if I did look ridiculous. Ten minutes is enough time for this girl to freeze! I also eat a lot of soup and drink a lot of tea during the winter to help warm me up on the inside.
If this tip surprises you then you’ve clearly never read a Wellness Wednesday post. There are plenty of essential oils that are uplifting when they are smelled. I keep a diffuser at work and one at home and I basically have something diffusing 24/7. My personal favorites are blends that include plenty of citrus scents like wild orange, bergamot, grapefruit, and lime. I also enjoy woodsy scents like sandalwood, cedar, and frankincense which also offer a grounding effect and help keep me focused on positivity.
This is not something I do, but every year I want to. A light box is exactly what it sounds like – a box usually with fluorescent or incandescent lights inside that will emit white light when turned on. The light mimics outdoor light and researchers believe this type of light causes a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood and eases other symptoms of SAD. You can easily find them online, although the price tags can be sort of hefty. As little as 30 minutes standing in front of a light box can help to combat the symptoms of SAD.
As I type this I’ve already got my long johns on and have taken my first dose of vitamin D and magnesium. I’m also wearing an invigorating essential oil blend that I love and I’m partaking in something that I love – writing to you. So, needless to say, I’m feeling less weepy and more ready to brave this winter! Here’s hoping this lasts when the temperatures dip into the teens tonight.