It's now February, and that makes me think that we're coming out the other side of the dark days in Toronto... but we've still got another 6 weeks of winter according to Wiarton Willie! So, what do you do if winter is getting to you? As a Naturopathic Doctor, of course I've got a few suggestions!
1. Vitamin D - make sure you're Vitamin D levels are adequate. This can be done through a simple blood test with me or with your MD. The majority of Canadians are reported to be deficient in Vitamin D, and levels fall in the winter with the shortened days and lack of sunshine. I notice significant changes in the mood & energy levels of many patients when they start supplementing Vitamin D in the winter.
2. Eat lots of fruits & veggies. Fruits and vegetables are crucial for good health and for good moods. There is study after study showing that we need plenty of them to keep our mood in check. In winter people often turn to heavier and more starchy foods, which is ok in moderation. I would just make sure that if you're eating those foods, you're chocking them full of extra veggies. Chili is a perfect winter meal which can have tons of veggies in it - and it's easy to make vegetarian or with meat! I try to eat with the season, so I'm usually not looking for cold smoothies & raw salads in the winter. Instead I'll have steel cut oats with fruit cooked right into it, baked oatmeal squares which are full of fruit, and I'll make roasted veggies and will chop them up into a "salad" for leftovers the next day or throw them in a wrap. I also love making home made soups & stews in the winter which are always full of veggies.
3. Get your body moving! I can't think of anyone who feels mentally worse after a little exercise. I'm always amazed at how my mood improves after exercise. Exercise can come in many forms, and doesn't mean that you have to go to the gym. I actually gave up my gym membership this fall because I wasn't wanting to feel pressured to spend my time inside exercising. This winter I've been skiing every weekend, doing pilates classes (using ClassPass), and walking outside. I don't like to run outside unless the sidewalks are perfectly clear (which has been a rare occurrence this winter unfortunately) but the only thing that keeps me from going for a power walk is ice so this winter hasn't held me back from a good walk. My goal is to hit up a local pool and swim some laps this week too.
Hope you're able to enjoy the rest of the winter like I plan to!!!