As someone who grew up in California, winter is by far my least favorite season. Yes, snow is pretty to look at but having to drive in it to get to work in the morning is a different story. Plus the bitter cold weather where days would pass without even one peak from the sun did not do one bit of good for my mental health. So now that we’re in the dead of winter, how can we boost our brain health to stay happy and well this season? The impact of S.A.D. can be profound on your mental health. It can cause fatigue, motivation issues, sadness, irritability and trouble sleeping, and much more. We interviewed Dr. Teralyn Sell, psychotherapist and brain health expert, on how to combat seasonal depression and boost brain health this winter. Keep reading for more!
Dr. Teralyn’s Top Two Tips on How to Combat SeasonalDepression and Boost Brain Health
1) Get some sun!
Soak in sunlight, and when sunlight isn’t available use a SAD lamp. Absorb the sunlight as much as possible. Grab your sunscreen and ditch the sunglasses when you are outside. If working from inside try sitting near a window. That will allow you to absorb vitamin D readily. If you can’t access natural sunlight get a 10,000 lux SAD lamp and sit in front of it for 15-30 minutes a day preferably in the morning. This has been shown to improve serotonin levels (think happy chemical) as well as melatonin to help you sleep.
2) Pay attention to Vitamin-D levels
Check your Vitamin-D levels in the fall and in the spring. Getting a baseline marker of Vitamin-D is very important for your overall mood. Vitamin-D is an essential nutrient cofactor for all of your neurotransmitters. It has also been implicated in your immune system functioning and disease states. If your labs indicate low levels of D then get outside for some sunlight and talk to your doctor about supplementation.