December marks the start of the festive season. The air is filled with holiday music and the scents of cinnamon and pine, lights twinkle on every corner. It’s a time of generosity, when everyone is thinking less about themselves and more about the people in their lives: what gift their colleague would like for the office secret Santa, or how to get home to visit their family.
However, for many people, the winter season doesn’t always mean good cheer or good company. As the days grow shorter and the summer sun feels like a distant memory, the winter blues rear their head. Even Christmas movies and delicious New Year’s mochi are not enough to banish Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Also known as Winter Depression, this type of depressive disorder is at its peak during the gloomy season. Like a plant deprived of life-giving sunlight, it’s common for our mental health to wilt under the strain. So if December has you feeling low-spirited, it’s time to learn some more about beating the winter blues.
What is SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)?
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of mild to moderate depression. It’s brought on by lack of exposure to sunlight, especially in the long winter months. Your body’s circadian rhythms change, and production of hormones is affected. Serotonin - which is associated with positive feelings - reduces, while sleep hormone melatonin becomes irregular. This seasonal shift can also trigger responses in a host of other mind-and-body functions.
It’s normal for your biological response to the winter season to reflect the pattern of nature. Humans might not hibernate, but even for us, cold weather comes with the urge to slow down and conserve energy until the spring thaw. But our modern-day lifestyles don't allow us to curl up under the covers and wait for the storm to pass, however much we want to. So how can you stop the symptoms of SAD from taking over?
If you are experiencing the winter blues, you might be going through symptoms like:
- Sleeping too much
- Appetite changes
- Craving for carbohydrate-rich foods such as cakes, noodles, and potatoes
- Weight gain
- Fatigue or low energy
Seasonal winter depression can have you feeling pretty low, especially when there’s no respite from the grey weather for months. For many people, their self-confidence takes a dip along with their mood, as they feel uncomfortable in their changing bodies and unable to meet the usual demands of life.
The holiday season can be hectic too, with the added responsibilities of shopping and budgeting, hosting events for friends and family, travelling during a pandemic, rushing to complete work projects before the break — on top of the listlessness that characterises seasonal depression, it all begins to seem impossible.
Don’t panic! Although SAD might have zapped your energy, you still have the power to shake off the blues. Start with the intention to make health a priority, no matter what else is going on. We’re with you all the way.
How To Beat the Winter Blues
Keep calm and take CBD
A bout of SAD can have you feeling anxiety-ridden off your game. CBD for anxiety is well known to have a calming effect that can improve your state of mind. Multiple studies have linked CBD consumption with lowered anxiety. Research has also shown that CBD can help alleviate depression, a defining symptom of SAD. Because seasonal depression is a function of reduced serotonin, CBD might be particularly effective as it acts to balance this essential mood-stabilising hormone.
In fact, CBD works to balance your whole body. CBD acts directly on the ECS, or endocannabinoid system: A cell-signalling network that regulates your hormones, mood, body temperature, brain function, and much more. When your mind and body are trying to adjust to the changing seasons, CBD can make the process easier.
Exercise is a natural way to boost the production of feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. It reduces cortisol, which is commonly known as the “stress hormone”, and keeps your adrenaline response in check. So even when you feel sluggish and depressed, it’s worth the effort to get off the couch.
You don’t have to drag yourself to the gym, either. Practice yoga, take a walk around the block and enjoy the fresh air, do a dance workout or a hundred jumping jacks. The important thing is to find comfort and connection with your body. Get your blood pumping and stretch your muscles, and your mind will know the difference too.
Nourish your body
It may be tempting to reach for starchy comfort foods in the winter months. But that creamy mac and cheese or box of cupcakes could be having a negative impact on your mood. When you eat a lot of simple sugars and skip the fibre and protein, it plays havoc with your digestion and appetite. You'll find yourself in a sudden slump of being hungry, tired, and irritable.
Balance out your winter carb cravings with nutritious foods that will help ward off SAD. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, proteins like eggs, steak, and tofu, and some sources of healthy fat. Oily fish such as salmon can bring a healthy glow back to dull hair and skin. MUKOOMI Hemp CBD Oil is made with 100% organic hempseed oil, so it packs in a hefty dose of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.
Catch some rays
Just because there’s not much sunshine, doesn’t mean you shouldn't make the most of it. It can be hard to get adequate sun when not only are the days shorter, but the cold weather requires you to cover up. Sun lamps can be a good option to help cheer you up. Still, there's nothing quite like the touch of the sun - so get out there for a winter hike or a soup-cup picnic.
A serious cause of SAD can be not getting enough vitamin D due to lack of sun exposure. It's a good idea to start taking supplements from the fall season, before SAD has a chance to take hold. Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, your body stores it away - and it's best taken after a meal. Consult your doctor before starting any new supplements.
It’s normal to crave more sleep in the winter months than you would in bright, sunny weather. While there’s nothing wrong with a power nap during the day, you should be rested after a good night’s sleep. A proper bedtime routine will help ensure you get your eight hours in and are ready to face the day ahead.
Make it a point to wind down at least half an hour before bedtime. That means cutting out work, screen time, heavy foods, caffeine and alcohol - all things that can interfere with a peaceful sleep. Instead, enjoy a cup of herbal tea and a good book. Sketch or write a few lines in a journal. Relax with a soothing skincare routine, like the simple MUKOOMI Hemp CBD night care line. Featuring a depuffing Eye Serum and a rich, antioxidant-loaded Skin Serum, as well as a rose quartz face massager, it’s the perfect combination to unwind and wake up glowing.
Tell your loved ones
They say the truth will set you free. When it comes to telling the people close to you that you're going through a rough time, it can be intimidating. But being honest about your struggles allows your loved ones the opportunity to provide some support.
Maybe your family won't pressure you to bake your famous Christmas cookies this year, and your colleagues will accept taking meetings outdoors. Maybe a friend will step up to be your winter jogging buddy. Not all Christmas gifts are found under the tree - some are just small acts of kindness.
Seek medical help
There's no shame in asking for help. If you feel you need a hand to manage SAD, reach out to a healthcare professional. A therapist can check in on you, provide you with better management tools, and help you find sustainable ways to deal with SAD. A doctor can prescribe antidepressant medication that can give you the boost you need to overcome the effects of SAD.
All options are equally valid, and it depends on what is right for you. Remember to be mindful of what your needs are, not what society says they should be. Which CBD Oil is Best for the Winter Blues?
Since MUKOOMI Hemp CBD Oil is made with pure hempseed oil, it offers a lot of nourishing benefits. Its rich fatty acid profile reduces inflammation, while hempseed oil also provides a boost of energising iron. Our CBD is guaranteed with a Certificate of Analysis, so you can be assured of the quality.