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The Winter Blues

If you’re reading this, you probably live in Toronto and are cold.

On a serious note: winter is HERE and we are ready for it. I know I know, we’d rather have sunny, warm days and patio season. But guess what? We’re going to help you make the best of this snowy season that’s ahead of us. Get ready to say goodbye to the gloomy feeling of colder temperatures, having long dreadful commutes, and no longer seeing daylight after 5pm. While we may not be able to stop those things from happening, we’ll try to at least make your winter a little bit brighter!

Most of you have probably heard of S.A.D. or Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, “About 2 to 6% of Canadians will experience S.A.D. in their lifetime.” While that may seem like a small number, it’s still a serious concern, especially since numbers seem to be growing when it comes to most mental health illnesses.

Check out these few tips that will help you make the best of this upcoming winter:

1)Dress warm. You may be thinking, “Duh, what else would I do?!” but I mean REALLY dress warm. Being outside is less dreadful when you’re prepared for it and can comfortably walk outside without feeling like you’re going to turn into an ice statue at any minute.

2)Take vitamin D drops. Considering we won’t see much sun these next few months, our bodies may start to feel the effects of vitamin D deficiency. Our bodies are smart and they send signals to us when something is wrong, so some of these negative things we feel during winter can often times be a sign of vitamin D (or other vitamin/nutrient) deficiency. Check out this article to see if this may sound like you:https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms

3)5-HTP. “5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid that your body naturally produces. Your body uses it to produce serotonin, a chemical messenger that sends signals between your nerve cells. Low serotonin levels are associated with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, weight gain and other health problems.” This amino acid is a great way to help your body produce serotonin and can be found in foods such as turkey, chicken, milk, potatoes, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds just to name a few. Also look for it in supplemental form if you feel that’s a better option.

4)Spend time with family and friends. While that may seem obvious, often the winter months can lead us to want to stay home and just be alone. Spending time with yourself is great and a good form of self-care, but try doing the activities you enjoy with family and friends. There’s always tons to do whether it be indoor or outdoor activities, and it becomes more enjoyable when doing them with people you love.

5)Stay active, whatever that means for you. Try a new spin class with your friend, go ice skating with your significant other, bundle up and go for walks with your roommate to check out the holiday decorations, etc. Don’t feel guilty for staying home and relaxing because winter definitely has that affect on people. However, staying active releases endorphins, improves our lymphatic system, breaks a sweat, and just makes you feel good (if it’s something you’re enjoying). Pick something you like to do and try to schedule it in a few times a week so that you commit to it.

6)Eat healthy - this makes all the difference. When we are getting all of our needed micro and macro nutrients, it helps our bodies AND minds thrive. A morning smoothie loaded with greens, avocado, and lots of other good foods can help you keep energized and full on a long, winter workday. Hearty soups with bone broth, lots of vegetables and spices can keep you warm and healthy as you watch Netflix.

7)Book a vacation. If you have time off and budget for even a few days getaway, DO IT.

-Iren Frasheri, CNP