February can be a difficult month for many of us in Canada. We have significantly shorter days, and more time in the dark. In the North Okanagan, we tend to have more cloudy winter days, than bright, blue skied days (unless you are up at Silver Star!).
February can be a difficult month for many of us in Canada. We have significantly shorter days, and more time in the dark. In the North Okanagan, we tend to have more cloudy winter days, than bright, blue skied days (unless you are up at Silver Star!). Having decreased exposure to sunshine can be very hard on the mood. Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder, or the “winter blues” is a common issue that we see frequently in the winter, especially in February. Here are a few easy things that we can do to help keep the blues away:
Even if it is a cloudy day, getting outside for even a 20-minute walk is going to increase your exposure to natural light. Sure, it may not be the bright sunshine of July, but it is better than any natural light you are exposed to inside your house. Plus, the added benefit of exercise, even at a light level, is going to help. Exercise helps to release endorphins (which are associated with good mood), reduce cortisol levels (which will help reduce stress and sadness) and support healthy sleep patterns.
Take your vitamins
Vitamin D, Vitamin C, the B-vitamins, and omega 3 fatty acids are all supplements that I consider when treating someone with seasonal affectiveness disorder. Vitamins C and the B’s are great for increasing energy levels and can be very helpful in positively affecting mood. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid (found in cold water fish like salmon, herring, anchovy, mackerel and trout) and positively supports brain and neurotransmitter function. Vitamin D has also been found to be helpful in increasing mood and energy levels.
Winter is a time where we may fall out of some of our healthy summer habits. Exercise and daily walks tend to happen less when it’s a little colder, darker, and less motivating to get outside. Finding a winter hobby is a great way to motivate yourself to get out. Snowshoeing has become very popular in the Okanagan in recent years. It is easy and fun, and a great way to get out and explore.
I also love to recommend scheduling a massage, an acupuncture treatment or a reflexology treatment when I am feeling down or overwhelmed. Making time to take care of our bodies and relax is very important for helping our mood and state of wellness.
Sparkling Hill is the perfect place to focus on your self-care. In addition to the amazing views and gorgeous rooms, we have many awesome trails for hiking and snowshoeing, and a world class spa where you can pamper yourself with a treatment, warm up in the steam rooms, or soak in the hot pool. Come let us take care of you and help make this winter happier! ??
Dr. Krista Ingram l Naturopathic Doctor
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