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Tips for Fighting the Winter Blues

Many of us are anxiously awaiting the warmer temperatures and sunshine. The shorter days and lack of sunlight begins to wear on us all and many are susceptible to depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Sunlight helps to boost serotonin production, the neurotransmitter responsible for making us feel calm and happy. With the shorter days, we create less serotonin; therefore we are left feeling anxious and depressed. We begin to feel out of balance and in an effort to restore balance we tend to reach for comfort foods that will quickly boost serotonin production.  Self medicating with sugar and heavy carbs may be tasty and satisfying in the moment, but it leads to vicious cycle because sugar ultimately makes it worse.

Diets that are high in processed and refined goods can actually lead to depression (  While this may seem perplexing as cookies and mac and cheese seem so soothing and offer immediate relief, a short time later we are left feeling more depressed and anxious than before. So what to do? Eating foods that restore serotonin balance are readily available and easy to find. Here are some foods and tips that can help you beat those winter blues:

Eat Root Vegetables

A desire to eat sugar and soothe ourselves is energetically linked to a desire to feel grounded. When we eat sugar we are looking to feel calm and less frazzled. A wonderful way to help you feel more grounded is to eat veggies that grow close to the ground. Winter diets should include yams, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, and butternut squash. These vegetables are in season during this time of the year. All of these vegetables contain a subtle sweetness that when eaten regularly offer your body the ingredients it needs to maintain healthy serotonin levels thereby offsetting sugar cravings.

Eliminate sugar

I know this is a hard one- I have to work on this one was well. The reason that sugar helps to calm you down is that the insulin rush that accompanies sugar consumption floods out competing amino acids and allows tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin, to win the absorption race. When you self medicate with sugar you are setting yourself up to feel depressed, anxious and sad. Plus, as your waistline expands from the extra calories and insulin rush, this will add to your already compromised mood. Eliminating sugar will allow you to feel steady, balanced, calm and happy.

Walk in Sunlight

On days when the sun peaks its head out, take a walk on your lunch-break and get outside as much as possible. Every ray of sunshine delivers a serotonin hit and can provide a sense of calm. As the days slowly begin to get longer this should be easier to do.

Get consistent sleep

Getting a consistent amount of sleep helps regulate your body and leaves you feeling refreshed. If you are having trouble falling asleep, try finding a routine that allows your body to unwind like drinking sleepy time tea before bed or a foot soak. 


Research shows that exercise is as effective as antidepressants in managing mood. Even if it is a brisk walk a few times a week, moving your body will help you feel balanced and give you more energy.

Try these few tips and before you know it Spring should be here!