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Feeling the winter blues? Natural ways to boost your mood

Click to play video 'Feeling the winter blues? Natural ways to boost your mood' Feeling the winter blues? Natural ways to boost your mood
Wellness expert Kyle Buchanan checks in with The Morning Show to share natural ways to cope with seasonal affective disorder or “SAD.” – Nov 3, 2020

The days feel like they’re getting shorter and in some parts of Canada snow has made an unwelcome entrance.

Add in a Daylight Saving Time change for the rest of us and you have a combination of the winter blues.

Wellness expert Kyle Buchanan recently spoke to The Morning Show on natural ways to cope with these blues or in a more defined term, seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

READ MORE: 5 foods that will help improve your mental health

SAD, according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), can include symptoms of hopelessness, lethargy and oversleeping. The site added, SAD affects more women (80 per cent) than men.

Previously speaking with Global News, Dr. Robert Levitan, the Cameron Wilson chair in depression research at the University of Toronto and CAMH, says SAD is more connected to the lack of sunlight vs. cold weather. 

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“We know from large studies in the community that this time of year is the worst for people’s mood, energy and general functioning,” he said.

“The first thing to do is to maximize natural light exposure.”

READ MORE: 8 ways to boost your energy this winter

Buchanan says light therapy is a starting point when it comes to boosting your mood.

“I’ve been using this in my past few winters and the difference it has made is huge,” he said.

He adds these lights can be placed beside your workstation if you’re working from home or even in the kitchen before you start your day.

Next, he recommends adding more foods with serotonin to your diet.

“Low levels of serotonin have been associated with SAD,” he continued. “Things like pumpkin seeds, poultry, spinach, salmon, eggs and tofu is a good option.”

READ MORE: 7 reasons you’re tired — and none of them have to do with sleep

He says all these foods have tryptophan, an amino acid, and the best way to ensure you’re getting the most of it is by pairing your food with another carb.

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This can include rice, sweet potatoes and oatmeal.

“Diet plays a huge role in mood … use it to your advantage.”

To learn about more ways to boost your mood, watch the full video above.