Tips to beat the winter blues

Feeling a little down this winter? You’re not alone! During the long cold months of winter, much of the population is negatively affected by the seasonal changes. And the longer the winter season the more likely you are to feel a little blue. Luckily, researchers have been working for more than 3 decades to combat this frosty phenomenon. In this article, you’ll discover actionable tips to lift your spirits and get back to doing the things you love.

Let the Sunshine In

During the winter months, the hours of sunlight are shorter. Many people find themselves waking before the sun rises, working all day, then making it home only after the sun has set. The lack of sunlight leads you to more screen time, making it more likely that you’ll consume stress-inducing media. 

You also miss out on vitamin D which is a vital nutrient for mood stabilization. Those found to be low in vitamin D are at a higher risk for depression and seasonal affective disorder(SAD).  SAD is a more severe form of seasonal depression characterized by sadness that interrupts your normal day-to-day functions. Doctors typically treat this disorder with light therapy and/or antidepressants.

Combat your winter blues by making time to get outside between the hours of 12 pm - 3 pm. During these hours the sun is highest, maximizing your exposure and boosting your mood.

And don’t forget the sunscreen!

Fuel Up With the Right Foods

What you eat directly affects how well your body can create feel-good hormones like serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and others. Wintertime is traditionally the time for warming “comfort foods” but these foods are typically high in carbs and sugar and lack the balance necessary to fuel your body.

Studies show that increasing your protein intake can help your body replicate more of the mood-boosting hormones you need. Combine your protein with whole foods like a rainbow of fruits and veggies, for daily energy-boosting meals. 

You also want to consume foods high in Vitamin D to supplement the loss of sunlight during winter. Our a2 Milk® is packed with protein and vitamin D to give you the nutrients you need to keep your spirits high. Here are some more examples of foods that are high in protein and/or vitamin D:

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Orange juice
  • Homemade yogurt

Get Active

To combat seasonal blues, get moving! Just 20 minutes a day, 4 times a week can do wonders for your mental state. Starting an easy exercise regimen can become a vital part of your day to anchor your routines. Completing your to-do list becomes far less taxing because you create natural triggers to get you started. Try joining a gym or signing up for a fitness class to keep you accountable. 

In addition to exercising, get out and find something to look forward to. Winter sadness leads to a lack of joy from the activities that used to make you happy. Planning small getaways or new activities with friends are just two of the many little ways to brighten your day

Make Plans for Your “Real” Self

Ever started a home organization project just to become overwhelmed halfway through? While cleaning can create less mental clutter, when your energy is low something as small as doing laundry becomes overwhelming. So take a chill pill! 

Try not to be overly ambitious with your projects. Often we make plans with our ideal self in mind, not considering the “real” self that has to eat and sleep or simply feel motivated enough to do things. So when making your to-do list, consider your energy levels and set reasonable daily tasks for yourself to complete. 

Wintertime is a season of cozy recipes and family bonding. For some, however, the cold months quickly morph into loneliness and isolation. If you’re struggling with seasonal affective disorder and feeling more than a little ‘blue’, reach out to a mental health professional for a mental tune-up. At a2 Milk®, we want to help you fuel your body and fortify your mind by creating a better, more holistic version of yourself. And the kitchen is a great place to start! Find a2 Milk® at a grocer near you.

The a2 Milk® difference

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