The colder and darker it gets, the urge to hide indoors increases – preferably wrapped up in a snuggie with an intravenous of hot chocolate coursing through your veins. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) hits many North Americans during the winter season, but there are definitely ways that you can kick the winter blues to the frigid curb.
Here are some ideas to add to your diet and routine to help you make it through winter as a happier and healthier person!
1. Shed some light on your situation
If you wake up and there is sunlight coming through your blinds, OPEN THEM. Better yet, open a door to the outside while drinking something hot (to help you with that, there’s a recipe at the end of this post).
Vitamin D, which we get from the sun and a few different foods – such as egg yolks and mushrooms – is less abundant with the fewer hours of sunlight available during the winter months. Vitamin D is important, as it is essential to the production of important neurotransmitters that release dopamine and serotonin (which work with the pleasure centres of the brain) and balance mood.
2. Eat some Omega-3 fatty acids
As complex as our brains are, they do have some pretty basic needs. Just like a car needs fuel, brains need healthy fats to act, essentially, as brain food.
The fatty acids EPA and DHA, found in the healthy Omega-3 fats, help to keep your levels of the feel-good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine high. Some great sources of these fantastic fats are nuts, seeds, salmon and eggs.
3. It’s not time to get a winter spare tire (for your tummy at least), so exercise.
Just because you are wearing your baggy fleece sweater doesn’t mean you should fill it out. By getting outside even for a brisk walk around the block and engaging in winter activities (skating, skiing, tobogganing or even building a snowman) you can make getting through winter enjoyable!
4. Sip on smoothies
When it’s cold outside it can be difficult to wrap your head around drinking something other than a hot beverage. However, a nutrient-packed smoothie every morning is a habit that is great to get into, year round. Try mixing together half an avocado, a handful of strawberries, a dash of ginger, 2 tablespoons of raw cacao, 1 tsp of hempseeds, a protein powder without sugar, and a handful of spinach with water, coconut milk or almond milk. Smoothies are great when you need a quick morning meal, because you can put the ingredients in a blender the night before, place in the fridge and blend in the morning.
5. Warm up with a Hot Drink
Keep yourself warm and cozy with a hot drink. I love using matcha green tea powder, which is awesome because it’s filled with antioxidant goodness as well as chlorophyll, which is detoxifying.
- 1 tsp matcha green tea powder (I use Organic DoMatcha)
- 2 tsp cold water
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 cup of almond milk
- Dash vanilla extract
- 1 sprinkling of stevia, cinnamon or a dollop of raw honey (if desired)
- Take powdered matcha and place in a mug. Add your 2 tsp of cold water and whisk or use a spoon to make a paste.
- Boil one cup of water on the stove or in a kettle.
- Once boiled, pour water into the mug with the green paste while whisking with a fork.
- Add one cup of almond milk and stir.
- Add a dash of vanilla extract, cinnamon and sweeten with honey if desired.