Daylight Savings and Physical Effects
I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets all screwed up when Daylight Savings Time comes around. I'm glad to see the sun rising when I drive to work at 5:30 am, but I'm sad to see total darkness by 5:30 pm. Not only that, but I'm super tired most of the day. Turns out, DST affects a lot of people, and some even get cluster headaches partly due to their sleep cycle being disrupted. The body can't adjust to the change fast enough. This seriously makes me wonder why it's still so important to turn the clocks back anyway. It makes Seasonal Affective Disorder set in earlier for a lot of people.
"Seasonal Affective Disorder" is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons. The symptoms "start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody." Here are a few tips to combat SAD:
Let There Be Light!
Unless you're up before the sun like me, spend a few minutes outside within two hours of getting up in the morning. If that's not possible, head out during your lunch break at work. Even a little bit of natural light can go a long way!
You Are What You Eat
You might be craving heavy carbs around this time of year, and that's normal if you feel like you're preparing for hibernation. Some believe the reason we want these rich foods is due to decreased levels of serotonin. To increase the neurotransmitter, try eating foods with a higher concentration of tryptophan. "Foods rich in tryptophan include turkey, milk, and egg whites."
Lay off the Booze and Lattes
I always believed that coffee was the answer for everything. Turns out my pick-me-up could cause more harm than good. It can cause "anxiety, muscle tension and gastrointestinal problems." Try an herbal tea instead, but if you must, stick to one cup of coffee a day.
My D.A.R.E officers will be glad to know that I'm still aware of the dangers alcohol. It's a depressant, so that could bring your winter blues down further. What a buzz kill! Still, moderation is key here. PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY!
Hit the Gym
"Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't." - Legally Blonde
If you're feeling stressed and/or depressed, working out to get that blood pumping can decrease anxiety. It doesn't hurt to get fit and feel better about yourself too. Exercise in the sun or near a sunny window to kill two birds with one stone! (Please don't shoot your husbands...)
Waking up at 4:30 for work is the bane of my existence. It's literally the only downside to my job. The worst part is that I can no longer sleep in on weekends either. I am programmed to rise with the dawn without an alarm clock. After researching SAD, I realized it's actually beneficial to my health.
"Keeping your body's clock in sync by rising and retiring at the same time each day, even on weekends or days off from work" can help ward off the winter blues! Regulating your circadian rhythm keeps your mind and body happy!
Get the Hell Outta Dodge
I thought my mom was crazy when she up and left for Florida last year. She literally woke up and said, "I've had enough of this snow, I need to get outta here!" She packed the kids and left for a wing-it trip to remember. She really had something there.
If moving to Hawaii is not an option, consider a short trip to clear your mind. It's no secret that a few days of warm and sunny climates can reverse symptoms of winter blues.
This is my favorite of all these tips, but sadly, it's not in the cards. GoFundMe, anyone?