Surprising Ways To Fight Off The Winter Blues You Need To Know
1- Stock Up on Vitamin D
Since we get most of our vitamin D from the sun, it’s a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement during the winter months if you have winter blues . So many diseases are correlated with low vitamin D levels, especially depression. The National Institutes of Health‘s recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D is 600 international units (IUs) a day. But The New York Times best-selling author Joseph Mercola, DO, suggests that adults take as much as 5,000 IU per day.
2-Wear Bright Colors
I have no research supporting this theory, but I’m quite convinced there is a link between feeling optimistic and sporting bright colors in winter blues. It’s in line with the “faking it ’til you make it” desperate attempts to trick your brain into thinking that it’s sunny and beautiful outside — time to celebrate spring! — even though there’s a blizzard with sleet causing some major traffic jams.
3- Make a Book and Movie List
Winter is a great time to get to those books and movies you’ve been meaning to read and watch. A friend of mine challenged herself to read all the classics during the months she wasn’t positioned on the sidelines of her son’s lacrosse field. Since plenty of research has indicated that humor can relieve pain, I like to watch comedy.
4- Hang With Positive People
This is especially critical in the winter when you’re typically spending a lot of time inside with people chatting over a cup of coffee. If the negativity gets too thick, it can become suffocating. As I mentioned in my column 9 Ways to Promote Gratitude In Your Life, the people around you influence you more than you think. In one study conducted by Nicholas Christakis, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School and James Fowler, PhD, of the University of California in San Diego, individuals who associated themselves with happy people were more likely to be happy themselves.
5- Try Something New
For awhile now, we’ve known about neuroplasticity — that the brain changes and develops over the course of our lives. We are not stuck with the noggin we were born with. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers like neuroscientist Nathan Spreng, PhD, of Cornell University can actually map brain activity when we learn a new skill and have discovered that in the process of learning, our neurons become wired together. As our neurons send and receive information about the task at hand and become more efficient, it takes less effort for them to communicate to the next cell what is going on. Trying something new essentially rewires our brain.