Simple Green Me

Cultural reporter for KUTV 2News and adjunct yoga/meditation professor blogs about wellness, green living, downsizing, simplifying, better travel✨and more. Offering mindfulness, meditation, goal-setting and decluttering coaching!

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Beat the Winter Blues, Naturally!

If you’re feeling a little blue this winter, (Spring fever, anyone?) you’re not alone.According to the National Mental Health Disorders Association, approximately 10 to 20 percent of the population suffers from mild winter “seasonal affective disorder,” or SAD.

Folks start feeling “SAD” at the average age of 23, and if you’re a lady, you’re four times more likely to be affected.

But you don’t have to be SAD all winter! Stock up on these natural remedies that studies show can be as affective as some forms of medication. (Be sure to talk to your doctor about medication-related questions.)


1. Let the Light In!

The main treatment for SAD is light therapy. But if you don’t want to invest in a lightbox, try taking advantage of sunlight by leaving the blinds open, conjuring your inner cat and sitting in that “sunny spot” of the room, take a walk on a sunny day, or even buying brighter lightbulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs mimic sunlight better than incandescent bulbs. Painting a wall in an uplifting color has also been proven to reduce depression.

2. Ingest Happiness

a) When it’s cold outside, feeling warm inside can increase feelings of comfort. So drink tea! Plus, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that drinking green tea can boost your metabolism by 4 percent, and Japanese researchers estimate that drinking 3 to 5 cups can burn off 70 to 80 calories a day.

b) Super foods for your mood: A study from University of Pittsburgh study found that people with low levels of healthy fat Omega-3 were more likely to be depressed. And too few Brazil nuts can make you nuts – being low on their antioxidant, selenium, can get you down. And you might feel a little blue without orange juice; it contains a serotonin-stimulating ingredient called folate.

3. Surround Yourself with Smells!

Invest in a set of essential oils. Holistic healers swear by their effects, which can range from mood-boosting, to improving circulation, and relieving muscle tension. Each bottle will promise a benefit. I enjoy uplifting citrus scents like lemon and grapefruit if I need some energy, or relaxing lavender or rosemary if I need to calm down.

Lavender – First used as perfume by ancient Egyptians 2,500 years ago, lavender is now used to treat insomnia, migraines and provide stress relief.
Rosemary – This fragrant plant relieves muscle pain, low blood pressure and cold feet and hands.
Spearmint – The oil from spearmint aids digestion and eases nausea and vomiting.


4. Make Yourself Smile!

A study from Clark University links the simple act of smiling with “happiness” sectors in the brain!

5. Get Moving!

a) Simple movements and breath can help you feel “reset” and boost motivation to increase movement.

Try some living room yoga!


Inhale and exhale.

b) Take Advantage of Winter Specials!

Lifetime Fitness has no joining fees right now.

Square 1 Fitness (3 locations) has memberships as low as $7.99 a month.

And Groupon/Living Social has monthly memberships for as low as $15

6. Go Herbal!

Enjoy natural energy with a vitamin B12 supplement, a seratonin-boost from 5-HTP, or try St. John’s Wort, which is the most-studied alternative treatment for depression. (All available at your natural health food store; but talk to your doctor before taking.)

Health Magazine reports St. John’s Wort has been shown to be similarly effective—and, in a few cases, more effective—than fluoxetine (Prozac), imipramine, and Celexa.

 **Other things you can do: Service (great for a change in perspective – you don’t have it so bad!), eat chocolate (tryptophan raises seratonin), CREATE, human touch, singing a song