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If you feel like you get a little down during the winter months you are certainly not alone. Many people experience SAD, which can range from the blues to full on depression during the winter months. Symptoms range from sleeping more than normal and trouble concentrating, to an increased appetite. Here are some things that you can do about it.

Change Your Diet

Our diet really affects us, and when we’re feeling down in the dumps it can be very helpful to make some changes to make sure we’re supporting our happiness not cutting it short. Avoiding alcohol can be a big help for a lot of people, since alcohol is a depressant especially when taken in excess.

Sugar is another food that can cause extreme highs and lows thanks to how it affects our blood sugar levels, so refraining from eating sugar can help us to keep our mood in a more stable place. Both alcohol and sugar can change the dopamine levels in our brain which means that when we eat it we feel great, but after it goes away not so much. This encourages the addiction feeling where we think we need something to feel good, but in reality we do not we just need to get some distance and we’ll stop craving it. (In most cases.)

During the winter it is also particularly important to fill up on our omega-3 fatty acids which we can get from eating oily fish like salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids are great for the brain and are actually a necessary part of the brain, but we can’t make them ourselves so getting them through our diet is crucial.

It is also really important to get enough protein during the winter, because protein are used to make amino acids that are then used to make neurotransmitter connections. Good options for getting a good variety of protein types include: nuts, seeds, meat, fish, bean and lentils, whey protein, and eggs.

Get Some Sun

One of the biggest problems with mood issues in the winter is that there is less available daylight than during the summer and other times of the year which can really throw people off. Our bodies naturally make vitamin D from getting sunlight, so when we get less we might experience a dip in our energy levels from that change. If the light is a real issue, there are different lamps than can be purchased to help.

One option is using an alarm clock that uses light to mimic natural light if you have to wake up early in the morning and struggle with it. These will progressively increase the amount of light in the room until they ideally will wake you up naturally from the light, which is a lot less stressful than waking up to an alarm in a pitch black room.

Get Exercise

Getting daily exercise is also very important for keeping the mood high because of our serotonin levels. Working out releases endorphins that simply make us feel happier, so it is crucial to find a time to workout even when the time changes and it gets dark out earlier.