It’s that time of the year again—fall is quickly turning to winter, and your mood might be changing just as fast. Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as SAD, the most accurate acronym there ever was) is beginning to rear its disastrous head into our lives. It’s estimated that about 50 million Americans suffer from SAD1, with another 10-20% of the population experiencing ‘the winter blues’. Anxiety, fatigue, decreased energy, and difficulty sleeping are the calling card for seasonal depression, and it’s absolutely no joke.

If you feel more than mere wintertime blues, you should make an appointment with a healthcare professional to identify the appropriate treatment. In addition to professional help, here are some positive changes you can try to help brighten up the season:

Keep moving.

It’s cold. The sun rises late, it sets early. Daylight savings can really kill all the vibes, making it difficult to get out of bed, let alone exercise. Most of us put all our energy into pulling ourselves together for work, and usually there is nothing left once we trudge home. Make time for yourself—remember, self-care isn’t selfish, it’s self-respect. Exercise is one of the best natural mood-boosters—studies have shown that it can benefit those with mild to moderate depression2. This is one of the most important things you can do for yourself in the pits of winter. Don’t overwhelm yourself, try to build out a schedule that works with you rather than against you. It could look something like this:

  • Monday—the start of the work week. How this day goes can be indicative of the rest of your week. Set yourself up for good habits. If you’re an early riser, get to the gym before work and vice versa if you come alive at night. Don’t feel motivated? Sign up for Class Pass. With access to mostly group exercise classes spanning from yoga to kickboxing, it’s the perfect way to switch up routine. You also get charged for not showing up to class, and what’s more motivating than that?
  • Tuesday—you started the week right, you might even be feeling the high from your sesh yesterday. Ride the wave of endorphins and continue on your exercise quest. 
  • Wednesday—it’s hump day for a reason. Wednesday can be notoriously difficult, especially in the wintertime. Embrace it. You know it’ll be hard, so look forward to it as your rest day. It’s important to note that a rest day doesn’t mean Ben & Jerry’s and pajamas. Bundle up and go for a little stroll outside—even if it’s for 20 minutes, you’ll feel accomplished. 
    • Thursday—while rest days are necessary, it’s tough getting back in the swingZhou Nutrition Muscle BCAA Seasonal Affective Disorder Supplement of things after Wednesday. If you’re dragging, get maximum muscle recovery with Muscle BCAA. These muscle-mending amino acids are the building blocks for fast muscle recovery, getting you back into the gym with no excuses.  
    • Friday—you made it! The end-of-week-energy is tangible, and the perfect boost for a successful exercise sesh. Make plans to workout alongside a friend, and receive the added benefits of companionship. Which brings us to our next tip…

    Stay connected.

    After a long work week (especially one where you’ve been exercising), our relationships can fall by the wayside. When it’s warm, the sun is shining, and your friends want to meet up for a post-work drink, the answer is typically yes. When it’s snowing, freezing, and you have to battle an icy hellscape to meetup with said friends, the answer is a resounding NOPE. This doesn’t make social connections any less important. As you did with your exercise routine, try to approach your social calendar the same way. Look at your week and plan ahead. If you know Wednesday is going to be your rest day, have one of your friends join you for a movie night (extra points if you don’t have to leave the house). Plus, having something fun to look forward to on your Wednesday is always a good thing.

    Seasonal Affective Disorder Communication

    Increase nutrients.

    As is true all year long, nutrient deficiencies can totally affect our moods during the winter months. When you add SAD into the equation along with lack of sunshine and symptoms that make us crave blobbing (yes, it’s a verb) and eating every carb in sight, you’ve got yourself a problem. In addition to a balanced diet, supplements can play an important part in mood support. Here’s what you could try:

    • To help you relax—Proper chill sessions are crucial for serotonin production and ultimately a good mood. Tryptophan and melatonin help support relaxation, while also supporting serotonin production. You can find both in our supplement, Driftoff. 
    • To replace (non-existent) sunshine—Vitamin D3 is critical to mood, immune support, and calcium absorption, directing calcium to our bones instead of joints and arteries. When winter comes, many of us become deficient in this ‘sunshine vitamin’ that we typically soak up from UVB rays. When supplementing D3, it needs to be paired with vitamin K2 to maximize benefits. So if you’re fighting a vitamin D deficiency, you need to supplement vitamin K2 as well. Zhou’s K2+D3 supplement has you covered, adding just the right amount of each vitamin for a purposeful, effective formula. 
    • To enhance the benefits of vitamin D3—New research3 suggests that vitamin D3 along with fish oil could help support your mood. The studies suggest that vitamin D3 and omega-3s could work together to help support cognitive function, social behavior, and overall mental wellness. When supplementing with fish oil, it’s important to check for at least 500mg of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and 500mg DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These are the key ingredients that work with vitamin D3 to support brain function. Luckily, you can find 800mg of EPA and 600mg of DHA in our Fish Oil supplement.

    Zhou Nutrition Driftoff Seasonal Affective Disorder SupplementZhou Nutrition Vitamin K2 + D3 Seasonal Affective Disorder SupplementZhou Nutrition Fish Oil Seasonal Affective Disorder Supplement

    So, don’t let chilly fall and winter vibes overshadow your mood this year, or ever again. Create a plan, work with your healthcare professional, follow our simple tips, and supplement any nutrient deficiencies you might be experiencing.

    Now go be great. We know you will.



    References:

    http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/sad#Source%201

    https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.htm#benefits

    https://www.brainmdhealth.com/blog/vitamin-d-fish-oil-for-double-header-brain-and-mood-boost/



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