Maintaining a Joyful State of Mind in the Darker Months #wellbeingwednesday

What I wouldn’t do for long sun filled days, everyday. With the shorter days upon us, many people say their mood takes a nosedive, lasting until spring. For today’s Wellbeing Wednesday tip I am sharing with you some ways to keep your state of mind joyful through the winter months.

Get Outside Daily. I could hibernate all winter long, and as much as I want to stay inside where it is warm, research shows that after five minutes of outdoor time, people’s moods improve. So I invested in a warm winter coat and boots a few years back and make sure to get outside daily.

Get Moving: Hit the gym, take a yoga class, or use a dvd at home. The research on Exercise for depression is equal to or better than medication. Exercise boosts dopamine and oxytocin levels, and these 2 hormones are responsible for happiness. By moving that body of yours daily, you increase your dose of happiness.

Vitamin D: This sunshine vitamin is essential for a good mood. With shorter days we do not get enough vitamin D, so a supplement is a really good idea. Vitamin D can also prevent osteoporosis, cancer, depression and cardiac episodes. You can’t go wrong with taking a supplement daily.

If your mood is low consider a high EPA fish oil. Research shows the EPA to DHA ratio needs to be a minimum of 4:1 to help regulate mood. One teaspoon down the hatch might be all you need to keep your mood up this winter season.

Eat a cup of greens daily. Dark green veggies, such as collard greens, kale, chard and spinach, are a rich source of vitamin C and magnesium. These are both important in converting tryptophan and tyrosine, amino acids needed for serotonin and dopamine – the neurotransmitters responsible for making us feel joyful. A good dose of greens every day is therefore a must.

Ditch the Sugar. Blood sugar levels spike and drop after an intake of simple sugars or refined carbohydrates. This leaves you with a short-lived burst of energy followed by a tired, cranky feeling. Sugar cravings are real and tempting especially during the dark winter months. Focus on eating whole foods such as; brown rice, quinoa, legumes, fruits, vegetables and ditching those simple sugars.

I hope these tips help keep you happy through these darker months. Always seek medical attention if you have any concerns.

Rachel_Schwartzman_HSRACHEL SCHWARTZMAN is a naturopathic doctor in the St. Clair West neighbourhood. She is the co-owner of West End Naturopathic Doulas, a naturopathic collective that supports pregnant women and partners with the birth of their babies.

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