Dealing with the winter blues ...

Cross post from
I will start this post off with a happy thought: Winter is almost over. For many of us, especially those in the North and Canada, winter can be long, hard and draining. The lack of sunshine, fresh air and the cold can take its toll on your body after a few months. So here are a few tips to survive the long winter.

Sunshine: Many people are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD or Winter Depression), some estimate as many as 1 in 5. The most common symptoms of SAD include extreme fatigue, oversleeping, not being able to get out of bed, overeating, carbohydrate cravings and weight gain. It can also be accompanied by the regular symptoms of depression, such as low mood, loss of interest in activities and trouble concentrating.

The best therapy is light therapy - either natural (get outside for 15-20 minutes a day) or through a special light treatment lamp. I have also found that 15-30 minutes a week in a tanning bed through January and February to be very beneficial.

Exercise: Exercise encourages the release of endorphins into the blood stream that have a great effect on mood and energy. 30 minutes of moderate exercise 3 or 4 times a week can help elevate your mood, and combat winter weight gain.

Be careful to avoid overtraining as it can depress your immune system and make you more susceptible to colds and flu. In addition if you feel an illness coming on, reduce your training intensity and training session length. Please be kind to others: if you are a member of a gym, stay home for a few days so that you don’t expose others to your germs and viruses.

Vitamin Therapy: Vitamins B and C can help you overcome fatigue, and boost your immune system so that your body can beat winter time colds. Vitamin B complex usually has a number (50 or 100) which corresponds to the amount in mg of each Vitamin B factor. In winter, a 200 pound man can take up to 200mg a day. Vitamin C supplements are usually sold in 500mg or 1g tablets. You can take up to 2g a day of vitamin C (Personally, if I feel the onset of a cold, I double my Vitamin C intake to 4g a day, add Echinacea and a ZMA complex.).

While getting through winter may be tough, just remember to eat right, exercise moderately, take your vitamins and treat yourself to some natural or artificial sunshine every once in a while. Spring is juts around the corner.