Your Happiest Winter Yet

Beating SAD
By: Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN

Mood is a hot topic in the winter time because so many are plagued with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during these long, dark and cold months. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a major cause for depression, especially here in the Northern Hemisphere (but can happen in the Southern Hemisphere during their fall and winter as well). One of the major causes for SAD includes less amount of light daily, and less intense light during winter months.

There are many different types of treatments for SAD and depression in general; some involving behavior change, and others involving medication. While everyone requires different types of treatments, there are certainly benefits from practicing habits that can help to boost mood.

Although these recommendations may not cure your SAD, they may be able to help you feel better through the winter months either on their own or in conjunction with other medical treatments.

Top 6 Easy and Natural Remedies for Boosting Mood to Beat SAD:

  1. Wake Up Early

    Because the daylight is limited during winter months, you want to avoid missing as much of the daylight as possible. This means waking up early (enough) so that you can reap the benefits of spending as much time in natural light as possible. If you’re someone who usually sleeps late due to your schedule- try to wake up even 20-30 minutes earlier to let in more light. Research suggests too that sticking to a schedule with sleep can also help boost mood.

  1. Get Outside

    One of the biggest things that can promote SAD is how much time we typically have to spend inside during winter months; cold, yucky weather is usually the culprit for us staying inside. Try to make it your business to get outside for 20-30 minutes more than you already do. An easy activity for you might be to go for a walk outside. You can also bundle up and try my 24 Minute No-Equipment Workout.

  1. Spend Time with Fido

    Research does suggest that time with pets, for example dogs, can be naturally mood boosting. So if you have a pet, try spending more time with them, they’ll thank you! If you don’t have one, you can spend time with a friends pet or with those at your local animal shelter (they’ll thank you too!).

  1. Eat Mood-Boosting Foods

    • Dark green leafy vegetables: They’re rich in B vitamins, magnesium and folate;three nutrients important for mood, brain health and sleep
    • Omega-3 rich foods like wild salmon and chia seeds: Some research suggests that this type of fat may help to boost mood
    • Mushrooms exposed to UV light: They’re richer in vitamin D that can help to promote healthy chemical production in the brain
    • Tart cherries: They contain melatonin, a key chemical that can help to promote sleep
    • Dark chocolate: It contains magnesium and can also promote production of both endorphins and serotonin; important for mood boosting
    • More protein, less starchy carbs: The protein can help promote dopamine (feel-good hormone) release and prevent too much insulin release, which can help to keep mood more steady too.
  1. Exercise More

    Exercise and movement can help the brain produce more of those “feel good” chemicals that can help with promoting balanced/good mood. Any movement is better than none, but try to aim for 20-30 minutes daily.

  1. Try A “Happy” Lamp

    This is one of the most common recommendations for anyone with SAD because this lamp simulates natural sunlight, and may for some help to improve mood.

    If you’re looking for other posts and information on boosting mood, see below.
    Naturally Improve Mood with Food
    Top 5 Foods to Help Fight Depression
    Good Mood Food Recipes

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Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN

Isabel is a Registered Dietitian, wellness expert and fitness coach. Isabel has her own nutrition and wellness practice based in New York City, Isabel Smith Nutrition, but she works with clients and corporations both nationwide and worldwide in a variety of areas including skin health, weight loss, gastrointestinal issues and allergies, sports nutrition, general wellness and more. As a Guided Reboot coach, Isabel has helped hundreds juice their way to better health. When she isn’t helping clients achieve optimal nutrition and wellness, she can be found trying and creating new juices and making other healthy recipes, running, cooking, spinning, practicing yoga, and enjoying time with her two Yorkshire terriers. Isabel is also one of the nutritionists who runs our Guided Reboot programs.

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