If you've been feeling sluggish, cranky, or just plain depressed lately you may have a case of the winter blues - and you might even have a more serious condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). While you could go to your M.D. and get a prescription for some drug that you've never heard of, we think it's worth a shot to try and pick yourself up a bit with some green remedies that don't involve a visit to the pharmacy. Read on for our tips on how to battle those January blahs and feel better naturally!
It’s easy to get depressed when your work schedule has you getting less sun than Edward Cullen (you’ve got the sickly pallor to match and it’s not nearly as sexy on you). If you’re lucky enough to at least have a window in your workspace, open those shades and try to angle your desk so that you’re able to bask in the sun (don’t forget to wear sunblock, even in the winter months). For those of us whose windows face brick walls or even worse, are non-existent, try to soak up any bit of sun you can by finding a sunny spot to sit in during lunchtime to battle seasonal affective disorder symptoms. Better yet? Ask your boss to install a faux LED skylight. Aside from making your day more pleasant, they’ve been shown to improve productivity up to 15%.
Since we get a lot of our vitamin D by soaking up the sun’s rays, a deficiency of this vital nutrient could very well be what is causing your foul cold weather mood. Luckily there are lot of delicious foods that you can eat to bump up your intake of D from shiitake mushrooms to salmon. Click here for a list of the foods with the most vitamin D and work them into your winter diet to ward off the winter blues.
If you read the tip above about sitting near a window and thought “But what if I don’t have a window?” the good news is that there is another alternative. Daylight mimicking CFL lamps are hailed as an effective way to fight the symptoms of S.A.D. and can be used just about anywhere that has an electrical outlet. Each light comes with its own set of instructions but many of them work just like the sun, essentially persuading your body into thinking that it is soaking up sunlight and giving your psyche the associated mood-lifting effects.
COLOR YOURSELF HAPPY
It’s no secret that we tend to associate sadness with colors like grey and happiness with colors like yellow, so why not use those mental cues to “trick” your brain into being in a cheerier mood? That doesn’t mean you have to paint your whole room banana-yellow (though we imagine that’d transform even the dullest board room into a lively space). You can just as easily baby-step your way into designing a brighter atmosphere for yourself by adding a few pops of crimson, teal, or magenta on pillows, rugs or picture frames. If you’d like to maximize the sunlight that you do have in your room, using mirrors to reflect and bounce it around is a tried and true interior designer tip. Read on for another way to add vibrancy to a dull room.
PLANT A PICK-ME-UP
Aside from cleaning the air around you and giving your space a pretty focal point, did you know that plants are also known to make you feel happier and more productive? If your office or home is in need of a little pick me up, try placing a houseplant or better yet, a terrarium, in a visible spot and watch your demeanor improve!
WORK IT OUT
When the days are short and all you feel like doing is ingesting as many carbs as humanly possible, the last thing you probably feel like doing is hitting the gym. Well, if staying physically fit isn’t enough motivation to get you on the treadmill, how about the fact that exercise can keep you mentally fit too? It’s a well known fact in the medical community that working out helps fight depression – when you break a sweat and get your heart rate up, your body releases endorphins, which reduce stress, boost your self-esteem, and improve your sleep. So if you’ve been feeling off lately, go for a run, lift some weights or practice a little yoga. Chances are you’ll feel worlds better – especially when you combine working out with the other tips above.