We’ve all experienced the winter blues, a common visitor during these colder months which can leave us feeling a bit off, sluggish and undermotivated.
In this blog, we'll explore how essential nutrients and incorporating our nutritionist recommended lifestyle tips into your day can become your steadfast tools in revitalising your winter.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
The Winter Blues, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or Winter Depression, affects over 2 million people in the UK and more than 12 million across Northern Europe. Symptoms vary but can include persistent low mood, loss of interest in activities, irritability, feelings of despair, lethargy, and changes in sleep patterns and appetite. For some, these symptoms significantly impact daily life.
The exact cause of SAD is not fully understood, but it is believed to be linked to the reduction in light exposure during the shorter winter days. This reduction in daylight can lead to an overproduction of the sleep-hormone Melatonin and in turn, disrupt the body’s internal clock causing Melatonin to remain elevated through waking hours.
Combating Seasonal Affective Disorder
First line treatment of SAD is something known as bright light therapy via a special lamp called a lightbox for around 30 minutes each morning. The lamp is designed to emit light which replicates the light of a bright summer’s day. Small, compact lamps can easily be set up next to a workstation or within the home at a distance of 20cm from you. As the light hits your eyes it is thought to stimulate the happy hormone, Serotonin and switch off the sleepiness hormone, Melatonin. This treatment in time can reset the body’s natural sleep wake cycle.
Some people also report beneficial results from replacing the jolt of their morning alarm from their phone with the gentle and natural light of a wake-up light. The wake-up light mimics the rising of the morning sunlight and can be set to any time you desire. It’s also great for bedtime readers as it gently dims to darkness setting you up for a peaceful sleep.
Walk it out in nature
Getting out into the morning light within the first hour of waking is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to set your day up well. Not only will you get some of your daily steps in early doors, but you will allow your eyes to adjust to daylight helping to keep your sleep/wake cycle in balance.
Sunshine in a super supplement
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere our long and dark winters limit our exposure to sunlight, making it crucial to supplement with vitamin D year-round.
Aptly named the 'sunshine vitamin,' vitamin D helps your body produce serotonin, a feel-good hormone, keeping your spirits high during the colder months. Vitamin D also supports muscle function, a healthy immune system, and aids in calcium absorption for strong bones and teeth.
Consider adding a supplement to your routine but make sure to check the labels to ensure that you opt for Vitamin D3 in the form of Cholecalciferol. Think of it as your winter mood lifter and immune system supporter, ensuring you stay positive and resilient. Our Zest Active formulation is a burst of liquid sunshine containing everything you need to support you through the winter months.
Keep it low and slow
Most of us have slow cooker tucked away at the back of the cupboard that we could dig out and get creative with. In the colder months we naturally gravitate towards warm, comforting meals which the slow cooker can really help you achieve, not to mention save you some time and significantly boost your nutrient intake.
Think nourishing soups and stews packed full of gut healing protein and collagen, vegetarian bean chillis and soups full of nourishing plants and beans.
We love the recipes from The Healing Slow Cooker book. Packed full inspiring ideas to start you off on your winter wellness journey.
Lean into a slower pace
As we wrap up our journey through the winter blues, take comfort that a revitalised winter is within your reach. Essential nutrients and targeted supplements can be your allies in this cold season. Let's embrace the slower pace, the darker nights, cosy fires, and hearty meals, armed with the knowledge that we've got the tools to keep our mood and energy levels balanced.
Here's to a winter not just endured but truly enjoyed.