african american man looking out window

These days, you might find yourself more tired or depressed than usual, with little motivation to leave the bed. I know that if I hear another “polar vortex” come out of my newscaster’s mouth, I may pack one bag and head straight to Jamaica- or, if it’s warm on MARS, I’ll consider that as well. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects millions of Americans each year, especially during the winter. Research suggests that the lack of exposure to sunlight lowers levels of serotonin in the body, in turn affecting feelings of well-being and hunger. Fortunately, there are ways to address the winter blues. Here are some great, all natural remedies to help you get through your winter slump.

1) Creare "natural" sunlight: Making your environment more sunny and bright is a great way to lift your mood. Situate a chair or desk near the window, where sunlight can reach you.  Considering buying a light box, which mimics outdoor light, and can be bought over the counter, without a doctor’s prescription.

2) Exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times a week: It’s no secret that motivating to work out in the winter is especially hard. Add to this difficulty to motivate the fact that layers of clothing can keep those extra pounds hidden, and well, you get the point. Although gearing up to get fit may be harder during this time of year, it is especially critical, as exercise is a proven mood-booster,

3) Take Your Supplements:  Vitamin D, melatonin and Omega 3 fatty acid supplements are all excellent additions to consider for your daily vitamin intake. Vitamin D, which is normally provided from sunlight, is especially crucial during winter months. Melatonin, a hormone made by the pineal gland and helps control sleep cycles can also be taken in supplement form to help ease your nights and mornings in the winter. Finally, Omega 3 fatty acids, which can also be found in fish such as salmon or pill form, can help lift your mood and ward off depression.

4) Maintain a balanced diet: Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, particularly in the winter months, is critical. Not only will healthy eating habits boost your immunity against the common cold, they will also help fend off any cravings for carbohydrates, which are known to cause the body to become lethargic and crash.  Stay away from foods like white rice and sugar, and focus on energy boosting foods that will put a little pep in your step, including berries and lean proteins.