Late winter can be very depressing. We are tired of the cold. We are tired of the cloudy days. In a lot of cases we are just plain tired. We have gotten through the glamour and stress of the holidays, and now we are in the middle of the doldrums.
Our biggest excitement is waiting for spring, but it just doesn’t seem to want to get here. Besides visiting your doctor, what can a person do?
Get some real rest. I’m talking about 6-8 hours every night, not staying in bed all weekend.
Get some sun if you can. If you can’t find the sun then at a minimum consider supplementing with Vitamin D.
Eat a healthy diet. Avoid processed foods. Avoid foods made with grains and sugars. Processed foods contain chemicals that make you feel better for a moment, the makes you feel worse about yourself. Avoid that slump by avoiding processed foods. Focus on your vegetables, with some fruits, meats, nuts and good fats thrown in for good measure.
There is truly something about chocolate that makes us happier, but we don’t need the fat and sugar that comes with it. Try some raw cacao. You can put a little in your coffee pot while you brew your coffee, or look for recipes that include it. Maca improves brain function and is a natural energizer. One way to get it is through supplementation.
Look for foods that contain the B vitamins. B12 deficiencies can create depression and delusional thinking. It can be found in meat, poultry, eggs and dairy. B7 (Biotin) turns sugar into energy and helps the nerves to function better. B3 (Niacin) deficiencies cause dementia and depression. It can be found in milk, eggs, yeast, beans, meat and fish. B1 (Thiamin)turns sugar into energy. It can be found in grains, yeast and dairy foods.
Omega 3 fatty acids are a must, and you don’t have to like fish. These fatty acids can be found in flax, hemp, and organically (grass fed) meats, eggs and dairy.
Keep your body hydrated. It is hard to get excited about drinking water when it’s cold out. Try substituting a cup of warm herbal tea once or twice a day. A dehydrated brain makes everything look worse than it is. Strive for half your body weight in ounces every day.
Get some exercise. It doesn’t have to be a lot, and it doesn’t have to be intense. It just needs to get done.
Do a heavy metal detox. Even if you haven’t had a major exposure they can accumulate over time, even from the air we breathe. Heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium are known to interfere with cognitive function, causing depression and other neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Spend some time in nature. There is a new science called grounding that shows that being in touch (literally) with nature benefits both our physical and emotional health.
Break some bad thinking habits. When we are depressed we tend to rehearse all the bad things that ever happened to us. Then we move on to thinking about all the bad things that could happen in the future. When you catch yourself in these habits purposely occupy your mind with other thoughts.
Plan for a positive future. Instead of focusing on the negatives look for potential positives, and take steps to work towards them.
Wanting what you can’t have. This can be relationships or the things we see advertised in the media. Practice some thankfulness for what you do have instead of moaning about what you don’t have.
Be a friend to make a friend. People don’t want to be around depression. Put your needs aside and focus on the needs around you. You will be rewarded in multiple unexpected ways.
We can pull ourselves out of our depression, but it takes some effort. Unfortunately you can’t always do it for someone you love. You can improve their diet, if you do the cooking, but most of these things must be done by the person themselves.