30 January 2015

5 Natural Remedies to Beat the Winter Blues

Longing for Spring (Part I of II)

For many of us, winter can be a difficult season—short, frigid days and dry, long nights, causing a sense of lethargy or worse, depression.

The winter blues can be a subtle nagging experience that lingers for weeks.

Following are a few of the natural remedies that I’ve found helpful for keeping winter blues at bay. Next week I’ll share some practices that I’ve found helpful.

Please note. The mild “blues” is one thing, but anxiety and depression are very serious medical conditions. If you experience signs of depression it’s crucial to consult a doctor for diagnosis and recommended treatment.

But if you are generally emotionally stable and find that the winter blues are just bringing you mildly down, you might consider the following supplements.

Please note. I am not a medical professional. I offer this blog post as suggestions for remedies that have been helpful for me. But before adding a new vitamin, herb or supplement of any kind to your diet, please get professional input from your health care physician, certified herbalist or nutritionist.

Following are a number of suggestions you can ask your doctor about.

  1. Vit D

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed my sensitivity to sunlight deprivation, especially during the winter. Natural sunlight provides our bodies’ much-needed source of Vitamin D—an essential vitamin to overall well being.

During the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere, we have fewer hours of daylight and thus fewer opportunities to be exposed to Nature’s gift of Vitamin D through the Sun’s ray’s.

A Vitamin D supplement picks up the slack for not getting enough exposure to the sunlight in winter. I started taking Vitamin D a year or so ago and it really seems to help.

Talk to your doctor about taking Vitamin D supplement. It’s known to boost immunity too which is super helpful during cold and flu season.

  1. Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to brain development and maintaining healthy brain function and since it is not produced in our body, it’s crucial that we consume the foods that provide it for us: flaxseed oil, walnuts, soybeans, green leafy vegetables and oily fish like salmon, herring, sardines and tuna. It’s recommended to consume these foods twice a week.

Omega 6 and 9 are also important for health and well-being and a substantial combination of 3, 6 and 9 is ideal.

I started taking a supplement of combination Omega 3, 6 and 9 last year and since it is associated with healthy brain function, it seems to help stabilize moods.

  1. John’s Wort Tea

St. John’s Wort (Wort means“plant” in Old English) is an herb from a shrubby perennial plant that produces bright yellow flowers on or near the proposed birthday of St. John the Baptist. It has long been used as a remedy for emotional disorders.

Drinking St. John’s Wort tea on occasion can provide a natural lift to your inner vitality, stabilizing your mood and improving your mental and emotional outlook. It can be found at any health food store.

If you have a history of depression or take medications, consult with your physician before consuming St. John’s Wort.

  1. Lemon Balm Tea

Anxiety often accompanies the winter season and affects a lot of people because of our fast-paced, out-of-balance lifestyles.

Lemon Balm, a member of the mint family, is an herb that has long been used to treat anxiety and stress.

Drinking a cup of lemon balm tea has grounding and stabilizing effects.

If you have a history of depression or take medications, consult with your physician before consuming Lemon Balm Tea.

  1. SAM-e

A few years when I was going through a particularly stressful and sorrowful season, it was difficult to stay positive. So, my therapist suggested I try SAM-e—a supplement that has surprisingly helpful benefits.

SAM-e is a chemical that is found naturally in the body. It is used to treat depression and anxiety as well as other conditions. It is readily available over-the-counter at drugstores.

Though SAM-e can be helpful for the general population, it can make some medical conditions worse. Consult with your doctor before taking SAM-e.

 

What natural remedies have you found helpful to combat winter blues?

 *photo credit: grietgriet at morguefile.com

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