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Winter Health Hacks - Top 3 Ways To Beat SAD

Keeping up on your health in the winter can be difficult. With common ailments such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), winter weight gain, and general illness, keeping a clean bill of health may seem impossible. If you find that every year you fall victim to one of these health issues, it might be time for you to switch up your self-care routine. Sure, getting a flu shot every year is great, but this year, consider following a holistic health plan as well.

Caring for both your body and mind this winter should be your main priority. If you don’t know where to start in regards to your new self-care plan, follow this guide to help get you started.

Try Meditation

With the long, cold days of winter still ahead, it can be easy to fall into a funk. Being stuck inside with a lack of things to do can cause extreme anxiety for some. This increase in stress can lead to common ailments ranging from depression to seasonal affective disorder. These mental health issues can then lead to a plethora of other health problems like weight gain or insomnia, to more complex issues such as erectile dysfunction and an increased risk of heart disease. Your mental health is serious and should be treated as such seeing as it can affect your entire body. 

If you start to feel you are suffering from cabin fever, try meditating to ease some anxiety you might experience. Far too often, people forget about meditation when trying to mitigate their health issues. Meditating is a great first step to take when you start to feel mentally exhausted. It can help get you into a healthy mindset where stress will just slip away. As you enter a state of thoughtlessness, you can truly take stock in your life, take a step back to reflect on what is troubling you, but also take a moment to realize what is going well in life. Meditation helps reset the mind and body. There are a plethora of meditation apps that can help you get started.

Utilize Some Alternative Therapy

Besides using meditation to address your levels of stress, look into trying out some alternative medicine options as well. There are many different routes you can take to address mental health issues this winter. 

Especially in the wake of the pandemic, almost everything has an online option. Mental health care is fortunately no different. If you’re snowed in, talking to a psychiatrist online could provide you with the support you need without needing to leave your home. Or, consider an online support group. They can help you make connections with people going through similar situations. 

Acupuncture is a great way to relieve some mental strife during colder weather. Acupuncture has become more widespread over the years as an alternative therapy to treat many different conditions such as chronic pain, stress, illness, and more. It helps stimulate the body’s systems to boost blood flow and calm the muscles. If acupuncture is not an option for you, consider getting a massage. Massages can have similar effects on the body and mind as acupuncture does. Massage therapists are typically easier to find and the process is typically less invasive than acupuncture. 

Treating yourself to some different alternative therapies this winter can help both your mental and physical health. 

Get Some Sleep

Winter can have some serious impacts on your sleep health. As the cold weather keeps you inside, you often are not burning enough energy in the day to be tired at night. Also, the lack of sunshine can throw your body’s internal clock off schedule. It can be hard with the weather, but try to get outside at least once a day for a substantial amount of time. Getting outside, even if it’s dreary, will allow your body to absorb vital vitamins from the sun. 

Sleep is an integral element of staying healthy. It is the body’s natural way of recovering both physically and mentally. Health experts recommend that the average person get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Getting sufficient rest allows your body to go into all four stages of sleep. Each stage of sleep helps the body recover in a different way, so when you don’t get enough sleep, your body and mind cannot recover correctly.

Shine Your Light

When the days get shorter, so does your time in the sun. Unfortunately, one of the main causes of SAD is this lack of sunlight. Without it, your body can’t develop all the nutrients it needs, like Vitamin D. That’s why it’s so important to spend as much time outside as possible. Or, some people find success treating their seasonal affective disorder with light therapy, or sun lamps.

Sunlight also helps the body suppress melatonin during the day but promotes melatonin production at night. Melatonin is an essential hormone that the body produces to help the body sleep. If you are having trouble coming up with things to do outside, try going for a walk or a jog. But, when outside, be mindful of the temperature and your skin. Exposure to extreme temperatures even for a few minutes can be more harmful than helpful. If you are having trouble sleeping this winter, get outside and get some exercise, it will help keep your body on schedule.

This guide should just serve as a starting point for your self-care plan this winter. Our suggestions merely scratch the surface of all the things you can do to benefit your health. Also, we are not discounting traditional ways of staying healthy. Joining a gym, getting a checkup, and starting a mindful diet are all great ways to stay healthy through the winter. 

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