Winter depression is a lot more common than one might expect. As the temperatures fall and the Sun’s nourishing rays start to diminish in intensity, many of us start to feel low. The medical term for this is seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Since the body produces more melatonin and lesser serotonin, we feel sleepy and less cheerful during the winter.
Ayurveda considers winter the season of Vata dosha. Vata aggravation during winter causes issues like anxiety, depression, insomnia, joint pain, low blood pressure, dryness, fatigue, and constipation. Here’s how you can treat winter depression with Ayurvedic remedies.
Winter Blues: Treat Seasonal Affective Disorder With Ayurveda
1. Get Loads Of Daylight.
Feeling dull? Open up your curtains as soon as you wake up in the morning. If you have the time, step outside, stretch your body, and take in a few deeeeep breaths. The daylight and fresh air are instant mood-lifters that we need daily. Plenty of daylight also prevents Vitamin D deficiency.
2. Drink Golden Milk.
Many folks beat the winter blues by sipping cups of hot coffee, tea, or even alcohol. Well, Ayurveda offers a beverage that’s equally cosy but immensely healthier. Turmeric milk is highly Vata pacifying. It heats up the body, reduces inflammation, soothes depression, promotes peaceful sleep, and also boosts immunity.
3. Exercise Your Body.
Exercise as well as yoga have powerfully soothing effects on seasonal depression. By increasing your heart rate and activating your body, you boost the levels of happy hormones. You feel more awake, alert, and energised. Swimming, jogging, hiking, walking…do anything that gets your blood flowing. Ayurveda recommends these yoga poses for winter depression:
- Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar)
- Warrior Poses (Virabhadrasana)
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
- Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
- Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
- Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
- Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)
4. Eat Happiness-Boosting Foods.
You can beat seasonal affective disorder with a proper diet. Ayurveda advises eating:
- Whole grains like quinoa and oatmeal
- Regionally grown fruits and vegetables
- Root vegetables like carrots and beet
- Lots of warming spices: cinnamon, clove, turmeric, black pepper, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and ginger
- Natural sweeteners like maple syrup and jaggery. Avoid refined sugar.
- Nuts like almonds and cashews
- Lots of warm herbal teas: ginger, turmeric, peppermint, lavender
- Organic cow milk, ghee, paneer (cottage cheese)
- Tryptophan-rich foods like bananas, milk, and almonds
- In general, food that is sweet, sour, and salty in taste. Limit pungent, bitter, and astringent foods.
5. Get Out And Socialise.
If you’ve got the winter blues, be sure to socialise. Sitting alone at home will only make it worse. Connect with friends as well as family. Laugh with them – it’s an excellent antidepressant. Visit social events, and make new friends. Enjoy the festive spirit of the Christmas holidays, and spread some cheer!
6. Ensure Sufficient Vitamin D3 Levels.
Low Vitamin D levels are linked to severe winter depression. Preferably before the winter begins, get a check up. And follow your doctor’s instructions on curbing the deficiency, if any. Apart from sunlight and supplements, foods such as mushrooms and fortified soy milk as well as orange juice can help.
Note: Posts on Ayurvedum are solely for the purpose of sharing the goodness of Ayurveda and bringing awareness about natural and healthy living. Please do not substitute it for professional medical advice. Ingredients discussed can interfere with certain medications. So, before using anything to treat yourself, always consult an Ayurveda doctor or practitioner.