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Effingham Magazine


Fall is beautiful. The leaves are turning, it is cooler outside, school is back in session and the holidays are just around the corner. Fall also brings with it an urge to slow down, snuggle into the covers and eat some comfort foods. Fall through winter, even in a relatively warm climate like our area, means colder temperatures, longer periods of darkness and less sunlight. These conditions trigger your natural response to hibernate.

So, what can you do?

5 Ways to Survive the Winter Blues

  • You feel sleepy: the circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock that prompts when we sleep, rise, eat- and is affected by environmental cues like sunlight and temperature.
  • You are SAD- Seasonal Affective Disorder: You may have brain fog, are less motivated, have the urge to isolate, difficulty staying awake, experience more agitation, guilt over menial things and even despair.
  • You are craving carbs- When we feel down, we look for a quick boost. Carbs will quickly boost your insulin and eventually spike your serotonin, so you feel better for a short time.
But our jobs, family responsibilities and life in general don’t hibernate which means we must be able to push ourselves at a time when our biology is saying “slow down”.  These are 5 ways you can help yourself adapt to these conditions.
  1. Get more Vitamin D from light (sun or simulated)
-              Get outside or stand at the window

-              Open the curtains and blinds to let in as much natural light as possible

-              Purchase a light box. These boxes simulate sunlight.

  1. Eat healthy foods that contain Vitamin D and boost your serotonin
-              Eggs

-              Chocolate above 72% cacao and low in sugar

-              Spinach

-              Seeds and nuts – pumpkin, flax seeds and almonds are good choices

-              Bananas –boost serotonin almost immediately

  1. Take Vitamin D Supplements In order to raise your vitamin D levels into the optimum range the Endocrine Society has recommended the follow
-              Children under one-year-old: 400-1,000 IU/day

-              Children one to 18 years old: 600-1,000 IU/day

-             Adults: 1500-2000 IU/day           

  1. Use Essential Oils to increase serotonin
-              Lemon Oil can boosts the production of both serotonin and dopamine. You can sniff it directly from the bottle or diffuse it for 6 minutes every day.

-              Peppermint Oil is an invigorating and refreshing essential oil. You can inhale directly from the bottle or diffuse 3-5 drops daily.

-              Geranium -contains citronellol and geraniol which can help to improve one's mood. It can be applied topically to the skin where it can then travel to the limbic system (the emotional control center of the brain).

-              Ylang-Ylang - helps treat depression by relaxing the nerves and reduces adrenaline. Inhaling is a popular option. Using a diffuser and allowing the fragrance to permeate your home is another option.

  1. Get some exercise
-              It could be as simple as a 20-minute walk

-              A yoga class 2-3 times a week

-              HIIT (high intensity interval training) - 1-2 times a week


Sharon Hathaway is a Certified Health and Life Coach specializing in weight loss, stress reduction and lifestyle changes. Sharon uses a habit healing method of curated information, empowerment and support to inspire her clients to successfully make lasting changes in their lives.

For more information or to schedule an Individual Discover Session or group event visit

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