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Looking Good - December 28, 2016

*-- 9 Ways to Kick the Winter Blues --*

If you're anything like me, when winter comes along, you just want to sleep and stay in the warmth away from the Chicago weather. Like most typical people, when you're cooped up for any long period of time, you start to get a bit depressed! Here are some ways to help counter that!

1. Make sure you're taking Vitamin D.

I don't know about anyone else, but I hate taking pills. But, by taking Vitamin D on a regular basis, it will actually help fight any depression as well as help keep your body healthy! Make sure to check the labels so that you're getting Vitamin D with Gamma and Alpha.

2. Up your Omega-3 intake.

By taking Omega-3 pills daily it can help maintain healthy levels of the brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin, both of which increase happiness and reduce symptoms of depression or winter blues! A good Vegan source for Omega-3 is flaxseed, hemp, and walnuts.

3. Get a Sun Lamp!

Some people swear by sun lamps, saying the full-spectrum light is similar in comparison to real sunlight, which people lack exposure to in the winter.

4. Go outside anyways!

While it may be cold and the weather may be crappy, make sure to go outside for at least 10 minutes a day. Believe it or not, even just 10 minutes of exposure to the natural sun light can make a big difference. Because the days are getting shorter, take a break at work once a day, walk around the outside of the building. Even if it is cloudy, the sunlight is going to poke through, increasing your serotonin and dopamine levels.

5. Leave the hermitage.

Resist the urge to sit and do nothing, or to block yourself off from friends. A good book, a new yoga routine, a weekend away with the girls, or even just a night with the girls (or guys), can make a world of a difference. Spending time with friends is a great way for you to raise your levels and soothe your soul.

6. Warm up your green drinks and recipes.

When all you want is hot cocoa, sometimes it is hard to want salads, smoothies, and green juices. So, instead, add a bit of kick to it with ginger. Or, to get more of your veggies in the colder months, add them to stews or soups. Find ways to change up your recipes, including fruit in your every day schedule. And remember, in the winter months, add a bit of cinnamon to things. It can help keep you from getting sick.

7. Sleep.

Make sure to get your full 8 hours of sleep. By creating a sleep schedule allowing for a full night of sleep, without over sleeping like a teenager, you will be well rested and less likely to be depressed.

8. Don't eat junk food.

When you eat junk food, it causes you to have sadder thoughts, bad sleep schedules, and leaves you feeling less healthy. We all know when it is cold outside, we want to curl up on the couch and watch a movie and veg out on whatever we have in the house. The more unhealthy the food, the more likely it is for depression to hit.

9. Get Aerobic Exercise.

This may seem like a repeat of #4, but it's not. By allowing for 30 minutes of exercise a day, 5 days a week, you'll give your body a chance to stretch, as well as allow for more sunlight exposure, and it will get your endorphins pumping, which helps increase your serotonin and dopamine levels as well. Get some warm close, take a brisk walk, and decrease your anxiety and stress! It's a win win!

Obviously, this is a guide, and not all of these will work for everyone, but they are a good place to start in helping to combat depression or winter blues!


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