By Op-Ed Blogger Quinton Charles & Hannah Laing
Getting through the last of the winter blues!
With spring around the corner, I’m sure I’m not the only one who is excited. Camping, trips to the beach, walks outside, and the countless other outdoor activities that become an option when the snow melts and temperatures heat up. Even if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that snow never falls, the days still get longer (and warmer).
It’s been several months of winter now, and there is only one month remaining: March. For most, it will be a normal month, filled with longer days and better spirits than those of the previous three months. That being said, we all may need some tips on how to last this final month.
Are You S.A.D?
What is that? S.A.D. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a seasonal disorder that affects nearly 11 million Americans yearly. While most people are sluggish, tired, and a bit melancholy during the winter months, someone with S.A.D. would find it difficult to even get out of bed. Think of the winter blues carried to an extreme. That’s what S.A.D. is.
Light can lead to happiness!
So is there any way to temper its effects or stop it before it starts?? Of course! With S.A.D., the lack of sunlight causes the brain to work overtime producing melatonin, the hormone that regulates your body clock and sleep patterns. This hormone has been linked to depression. That’s why all things considered, the farther north from the equator you live, the greater the risk you’ll have to some degree of winter depression. With this in mind, one of the simplest ways to boost your mood during the winter is to get out more. More sunshine, more vitamin D, and some exercise will help to balance your body’s melatonin levels and bring your circadian rhythm back to normal.
- Sunboxes: But what if you can’t get enough sunlight? Many places are short on daylight during the winter, and are often too cold or cloudy during daylight hours. Looking at you, Michigan… What’s the solution? Sunboxes. Since regular, indoor lighting has no effect, no matter how bright it is, artificial “sunbox” lights with special fluorescent tubes that mimic the sun’s beneficial rays are available and are considered the go-to treatment for those with any level of winter depression. Just make sure to use it for about 30 minutes in the morning. That’s an ideal amount of exposure. It’s critical that you get it in the morning, though. You want to keep your body on its springtime cycle, so you want to give it plenty of sunshine in the morning (sunshine that it otherwise doesn’t get during winter).
Winter can exacerbate stress and anxiety.
Often, people feel more stressed and anxious in the winter. Whether it’s the lack of good sleep, lack of energy, or just the season’s events, some of us just feel worse during the winter days. So what are some things that can help with stress and anxiety?
- Exercise, exercise and exercise. One major thing that I’ve always found helps, and many others would agree, is exercise. It might seem strange that stressing your body out physically could help you worry less, but it’s true! Physical stress has been shown to relieve mental stress, but the benefits are only experienced when you do it regularly. Exercise, when done regularly, lowers the stress hormones in your body. It also helps your body release endorphins, which act as natural painkillers. These little hormones also can help out with mood stabilization!
- Cannabinoids/CBD can be a great mood stabilizer, believe it or not! If you’re reading this, you may already be in the know, but, insomnia and anxiety are the two major symptoms of S.A.D. (and they can also afflict people without S.A.D.) and CBD can help! A 2010 study looked at the effect of CBD on social anxiety. The brain scans of participants showed changes in blood flow in areas of the brain that are associated with anxiety. Findings in 2014 indicated that CBD also has antidepressant properties. A case study published in 2016 showed the positive effect of CBD on treating pediatric anxiety and insomnia. The child was able to sleep well when taking CBD.
Talk about it.
That’s right, talking to someone like a friend, colleague or loved one can help to boost your mood, change your perspective or just help because you don’t feel alone. Another way of dealing with seasonal depression is to talk with a therapist. While this doesn’t always work, many find it helpful to have someone who can listen to what you’re going through and can offer support and perspective.
Winter is almost over. You’ve almost made it. Just remember to use some of these helpful tips to assist you in getting through the last month! We here at Green Wellness Life know all too well at that it can be difficult when the winter blues get you down! Some of our products can assist you along the way, so check out a few suggestions below. It is important to remember, that if it gets to hard and you are really struggling find time to talk to your doctor about it. They may have additional advice or strategies to help you cope.
Winter Blues Product Suggestions:
Boosters: Boosters avoid the digestive system and are absorbed through your mucos (cheek)or pulmonary (lungs) system. Either of these allow the cannabinoids to get to work much more quickly than you can digest. These options are not recommended as your sole source of CBD but they can definitely can save your day by getting to work quickly.
CBD Treats: When I am feeling blue, a special treat can sometimes help lift my spirits. Here are some of our CBD favorites that can that can deliver CBD in a way that makes you feel pampered! No better pampering than chocolate!
Pamper Your Body: Last but not least treating yourself to a hot bath can be another way to reset your day or week. We have CBD products that can help with this, too!
As always, if you have any questions, the team here at Green Wellness Life is more than happy to help. Feel free to call, message us on social media, send us an email, or stop into our store Mon-Fri 9 am to 4 pm and Saturdays nine -noon to ask all of your CBD questions!