by Dr. Mike Cocilovo
For most of us here in the Northeast, we are right in the middle of winter when we start to ask the question, “Is It Over Yet??” For many of us, these cold, dark days can cause a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This can really cause a lot of problems for many folks. There are, however, some proven simple steps you can take to help combat it and make the most of these cold winter days.
1. Check Your Vitamin D levels– This is a common, but effective approach. Vitamin D levels tend to be lower in the winter because of lack of sunlight. Most adults will need to take at least 5000 IU’s per day during the winter in order to maintain optimal levels. So, either take a Vitamin D supplement or make sure to eat foods rich in Vitamin D like fish, soy milk and orange juice.
2. Get Some Sun– While the winter is a perfect time to hibernate, it is vitally important to take advantage of those rarer sunny days when you can get outside and get some sunlight. It’s not just great for your Vitamin D uptake- but it will also brighten your day and your Attitude!
3. Exercise– One thing that many omit when they are tired from the winter blues is exercise. In reality, it is one of the more important things to help get you out of the winter funk. When it’s possible, even if it is just a 30 minute walk, try to exercise outside. The combination of heart pumping exercise and crisp, fresh winter air can really help jump start your mood and energy.
4. Watch Out For Those Comfort Foods – We all know that it can be very tempting during the cold winter months to sit on the couch and munch on your favorite comfort food. Be careful though because many of these favorites are processed and high in carbohydrates, sugar, and unhealthy fat. An occasional treat never hurt anyone, but regularly eating these foods has been shown to negatively impact Seasonal Affective Disorder.
5. Sometimes You Just Need a Break- One sure way to escape the winter blues, is simply to escape winter itself…even if it’s just for a few days. If you are anything like me, you just need a few days or so of sunshine and warmth during the winter months (… hence why I’m going to Florida next month for a weekend to see my daughter Carolynn!!) This warm respite will give you a much-needed boost to your spirits…and maybe even a tan your friends will envy.
6. Get Your Adjustment– Finally, Chiropractic Adjustments have been found to help the mood by releasing natural endorphins. There is an immediate reaction and for someone who is depressed, this can be a life saver. Natural opioid-like substances are released during an adjustment. So- in addition to your pain being lessened, you can also have an increase in energy when you increase endorphins and improve joint motion. The nervous system doesn’t have to work as hard and there is more balance. If you are not working so hard in one part of the body, you have more energy to work towards homeostasis. This naturally helps lift the mood.
So whatever strategy you choose, be deliberate and consistent with it. Having a plan as to how you are going to solve something is a great first step, but executing that plan is what will take you out of this Winter Funk.
If you need help in any of these areas or have questions- feel free to call us at any time…Ill even answer your call while I’m on the beach in Clearwater!!