Bored And Tired Student In Santa's Hat. Isolated On The White Background

3 ways to stay happy and healthy in winter and overcome ‘Winter Depression’

“Winter is coming…!” – not only at ‘Game of thrones’… Lets pluck our minds out from the land of the Starks and Lanisters back into our real world because it’s just as real here as it is there. (Well, almost…just forget about the dragons, the white walkers, the giants… 😉

For the people being shortest of time, here are the tips:

  1. Monitor and improve your sleep. Use “Sleep Cycle” App for example.
  2. Support your body with high-quality supplements
    1. Vitamin D3
    2. Pre-Biotics
    3. Magnesium
    4. Zinc
    5. Q10
  3. Calm and refresh your mind & mood through some quick’n easy exercises:
    1. Scales: “On a scale from 0-10 how happy am I right now?” – “What could give me 0,5 points more?”
    2. Create a list of resources on what you can rely on:
      1. What environments and things? (e.g. bath tub, sauna… )
      2. What behaviors and activities? (e.g. dancing, cooking, eating certain things…)
      3. Which people? (e.g. family, club members, what friends…)

And now in more detail:

Grab a cup of coffee and start reading :-) (c) Inna Kosnitska;

Grab a cup of coffee and start reading 🙂 (c) Inna Kosnitska

The coming of winter is usually accompanied by many things.

Most of which, if you’ll agree with me, brings us some degree of worry. These are times when you’d wake and still stay in bed up until 10-11 am, especially if you have nowhere to hurry to and even sometimes when you have. (Relax, I will tell nobody 😉

You look outside and you see the mist, fog and darkness and you know, “oh yea”, here comes winter!

During this period, people often get depressed and reasonably, you will find that they have cause to.

Scientifically, we would agree that the ‘loss’ of huge amount of sunlight, the changing of its spectrum could be the capital reason. This changing leads to a stop in Vitamin D production in our skins. A main contributor to our wellbeing.

In this post I will cover physical and psychological aspects. You will learn about Sleep, supplements and two powerful exercises for your mind, to overcome the annual depressions, the vanishing of our moods, lower motivation, set backs in health etc.

As always, this is just a glimpse on a large topic. I will not go into very detail but give you actionable steps to take.

Physical Things you can do

Sleep and Supplements…

First, lets cover ‘Sleep’ and then move on to a selction of supplements you may take, besides  healthy nutrition.

Most of the people forget about sleep. They are so busy all day that they force themselves to function. By sleep I don’t mean that 5 hours a day some have… I mean sleep that recovers you.

About 9 hours a day. Think of the feeling you have on weekends, when waking up.

However, due to the limited space I wont go into ‘Sleep-Theory’.

Instead, I will give you just an App you can try to monitor and improve your sleep quality, quantity and the easiness of geeting out of bed refreshed. Sounds cool? It certainly is.

Its called: “Sleep-Cycle”.

It tracks your movements in bed via the mic of your smartphone (in flight mode), with an algorithm it calculates your phases of being ‘awake’ and ‘in dreamland’.

If you need an alarm clock, Sleep Cycle  detects when you are mostly awake in a period of 30 min and wakes you there. Its almost like waking up naturally. (link)

Example: You need to get up at 7:00, Sleep Cycle  wakes you within 6:30 – 7:00 when you are closet to being awake.

Find out more on their page (https://www.sleepcycle.com/) and use the basic version for free.

Next on is supplements…

Supplements: So what’s this vitamin D that we talk about?

Where does (active)Vitamin D/Calcitriol play its role in our body?

  • It is as powerful as a steroid (like Testosterone)
  • Major role in the Calcium-Balance
  • Modulation of Immune system
  • “Cancer cell Killer”
  • Proper Cell growth and differentiation
  • Regulation of
    • Muscle function
    • Nerve cells
    • Blood Circulation in veins

Find out more on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcitriol

Well, quite contrary to what many of us may have been thinking it is, Vitamin D is not just one chemical but consist of many. The natural type is produced in the skin from a universally present form of cholesterol, 7-dehydrocholesterol.

Sunlight being the key: Through the UVB-Rays the precursor are converted to vitamin D3. This UVB Rays cannot reach the ground in winter properly.

How your body produces the Vitamin D from the sunlight:

“The sun’s energy turns a chemical in your skin into vitamin D3, which is carried to your liver and then your kidneys to transform it to active vitamin D.”

Or you can have it more detailed: after having the sun-ray hit our skin and ignites the chemical conversion, the first stop is in the liver, where

Sun exposure is critical to health (c) Vladimir Nikulin

vitamin D [produced] picks up extra oxygen and hydrogen molecules to become 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25(OH)D.

This is the chemical that doctors do measure when checking or examining the vitamin D level or deficiency in a human body. But although 25(OH)D is used for diagnosis, it can’t function until it travels to the kidney. There it acquires a final pair of oxygen and hydrogen molecules to become 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D; scientists know this active form of the vitamin as 1,25(OH)2D, or calcitriol.

So, we see why we suffer during the winter seasons, the insufficient production of vitamin D amongst others.

These are possible Vitamin D Supplements you can take:

High dosage:

https://www.lifeextensioneurope.de/kategorien/vitamine/liquid-vitamin-d3-2-000-iu-1-fl-oz-29-57-ml

Average dosage:

https://www.amazon.de/Vitamin-1000-I-e-Dr-wolz-Kapseln/dp/B0041MKHCY/ref=sr_1_1?s=drugstore&ie=UTF8&qid=1482334250&sr=1-1&keywords=dr+wolz+d3

The discussion on the dosage (some say: 500 – 10.000 IE /daily) is moved to another article in the future, I took both and both are considered ‘Very High Quality’.

Supplements: Other vitamins and minerals to consider

Now, onto others, we have a range of collectible vitamins and supplements that could suffice for helping us though the winter periods and it will pay you to know that acquiring this vitamins in their purest natural form is of preference than the chemically formulated ones; as always advised by medical practitioners.

Some of this nutrients include:

Pre-Biotics: Not particular for winter season, since in modern industrial countries we have access to almost every vegetable and fruit in this time. BUT, and this is a very big BUT: Food quality is shrinking. This is stuff for books and I just want to inspire you on this topic. There are varieties of things to do for your colon.

One is to reduce sugar intake. For more on this, check this book about (in german language):

https://www.amazon.de/Darmbakterien-als-Schl%C3%BCssel-Gesundheit-Mikrobiom-Forschung/dp/3426657538/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1482334383&sr=8-1&keywords=darmbakterien+als+schl%C3%BCssel+der+gesundheit

Zinc: really not associated with the season as such but very necessary in the body during the periods as it serves to catalyze the healing of bodily wounds and helps children from acute diarrhea. It is called an “essential trace element” because very small amounts of zinc are necessary for human health.

Magnesium:  Low magnesium intake has been linked to risk factors for: Osteoporosis. High blood pressure. Issues of heart health, diabetes and Asthma. It is one of the most fundamentally needed elements of the body during the winter periods as you will be exposed by your weakened immune system so a “step-up” of this element will greatly enhance your mood and most importantly, your health. Some of the health benefits include:

  • Helps Increase Energy.
  • Calms Nerves & Anxiety.
  • Helps With Digestion by Relieving Constipation.
  • Relieves Muscle Aches and Spasms.
  • Regulates Levels of Calcium, Potassium and Sodium.
  • Important for Heart Health.
  • Prevents Migraine Headaches.
  • Helps Prevent Osteoporosis.

This product has a good mixture of Magnesium forms (See the ‘Note’ at the end of this section):

https://www.amazon.de/Zelltuning-MagneZell-Aktiv-Magnesium-Komplex-Magnesiumverbindungen/dp/B017O6Q6K0/ref=sr_1_17?s=drugstore&ie=UTF8&qid=1482334113&sr=1-17&keywords=magnesium

Coenzyme Q10: Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance similar to a vitamin. It is found in every cell of the body. Your body makes CoQ10, and your cells use it to produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. It also functions as an antioxidant, which protects the body from damage caused by harmful molecules. CoQ10 is naturally present in small amounts in a wide variety of foods, but levels are particularly high in organ meats such as heart, liver, and kidney, as well as beef, soy oil, sardines, mackerel, and peanuts.

 

NOTE: Due to your individual health and body you may absorb different carrier and transport molecules of each supplement. E.g. Magnesium can be digested via an ‘Orotat’, ‘gluconat’, ‘malat’, ‘citrat’ etc. This depends on your body’s ability and conditions at your actual health status.

Generally, you can stick to organic forms instead of anorganic forms. Rely on a professional health care practitioner, your experience, a kinesiology practitioner, a doctor, reviews on amazon (…) to find the best individual solution.

As always: This is not a medical advice it is only my personal opinion after years of research and personal experience. Research is never finished. You always get new insights. Please check twice with your health-care practitioner. But anyway, you alone are responsible for your health decisions.

Psychological:

Like I mentioned earlier, we have another way of improving our mood aside the nutritional enhancing ground: Our mind. And the cognitive functions of the mind.

Arguably, man’s greatest asset given by nature is the mind, it would surprise how well it can get you, if you are employing very well, the ability it possesses.

There are many ways that the mind can help retract us from being depressed and there are not far-fetched. Let’s discuss a few… shall we?

Evaluating your mood: Use scaling as a metaphor

Oftentimes people feel just ‘bad’ or ‘sad’ or ‘useless’ etc. But the key is to differentiate ones mood. If you get concrete you can handle it.

A simply way to do that (several times a day): Use Scales.

Small exercices

  1. Whenever you like or need, ask yourself the Question: “On a scale from 0 – 10 how good am I right now?”
  2. Give a number to yourself (like 6.3 or 8.0)
  3. Ask yourself: “What can I do right now, to give me 0,5 Points more?”

If you have no Idea – refer to the next Exercise: Your List od Resources

The List of Resources

As a plan B for stressful situations, create a list of things that cheer you up. This is basic but powerful stuff, when you do it.

When creating your personal list or mind-map of resources you can categorize it by:

Make a cheklist for your resources…. (c) Dragonimages at depositphotos.com

1. What environments calm and vitalize you?

2. What activities relax you?

3. What people make you feel better automatically?

(These Categories are an excerpt and application of the Logical Levels by Robert Dilts)

 

This is an example of things that could be on the list:

  • Going to a sauna
  • The bath tub
  • Playing a game: chess, monopoly, card games…
  • Pay someone a visit: a friend you haven’t seen in a while
  • Tell someone a joke
  • Practice Sports: My one on this is If you are in the office or equal, practice a certain and small exercise of your sport. Or even is this is not possible: Think of yourself practicing it.
  • Dancing: I like tango argentine for instance. When im in the mood I just practice the special ‘tango walk’ and I listen to the music. Wonderful!
  • Painting – this one is not for me but maybe for you…?
  • Listening to certain music: I for instance root for Frank Sinatra (link).
  • Eating: Of course eat things that are healthy and energize you – my favorite is the Vietnamese soup called “Pho Bo” (Link)
  • Taking a walk and admire nature: this works pretty great. You just put on something light and stroll, meet a few people out the street and mix up a bit or you could just go to a beach (or canal/river) , seat and watch the tides and children play. You never can tell how shinny it can make your mood.

We have covered a lot of ground so far. I hope you found inspiration on this and share this post to your friends and family or colleagues. Maybe they will have a better winter season…

I would love your comments down below! Please ask your questions and tell me your favorite tip in this article! You can also tell other readers your own ideas to enhance our mood.

Talk soon,

Christian

Christian Kressmann

Christian is the founder of 'Kressmann Coaching'. In his free time he is practicing the japanese martial arts Aikido, singing and making music. He likes to cook and his favourite food is sushi.

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