Health

Beat the winter Blues with Vitamin D supplements

Fiona Heavey

Reporter:

Fiona Heavey

Beat the winter Blues with Vitamin D supplements

Winter brings with it a refreshing crispness and an underlying festive feeling.

But as the days get shorter and we feel the temperature drop, suddenly the threat of specific seasonal ailments become a lingering reality.

Many of us struggle to get up when we awake to darkness, leaving work, we generally find ourselves been greeted by darkness once more and unsurprisingly this can get us down!
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), typically affects people from October to March and is related to changes in the seasons.


Symptoms can include:
-Feeling low for a period of time
- Insomnia at night
- Anxiety about unimportant things
- Irritability towards people you are close to
- Weight Loss or a severe loss in apitite
- Social withdrawal and feelings of lonliness


Several studies have investigated the use of Vitamin D in the treatment of SAD, with extremely positive outcomes.
Vitamin D contributes to the normal function of the immune system and muscles.
It is required for the utilisation of calcium in the body and helps maintain bones and teeth.
Vitamin D is naturally created by the body through exposure to sunlight and is recommended as a supplement for individuals with limited exposure to sunlight, such as us Irish during the winter months!


Other groups at risk of low levels of Vitamin D, include pregnant and breast-feeding women, children and the elderly
It should be noted however that red haired people need less vitamin D than most as they store it in their body for longer.


Steps to feeling positive this winter:
1. It is important to keep up an exercise regime, even though motivation can be seriously hard to find when the temperature gets that little bit colder, not to mention when there's rain involved!
But something as simple as a brisk walk can trigger endorphins that create a feeling of positivity.
2. Get as much natural light as you can! Wrap up and have a coffee outside and open blinds at work or home to increase your exposure.
3. Stay connected - meet up with a friend or a family member and have a chat.
As the old saying goes, 'a problem shared, is a problem halved'. Try to attend social gatherings.
4. Make time for fun - it is so easy to become bogged down by stress and deadlines so make sure to do one thing you enjoy everyday.
5. Maintain a balanced diet. Eating small, regular amounts with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables will help to keep your energy levels up and mood swings down.
As part of a balanced diet try a supplement, tonic or something to boost your immune system.
6. Turn up the tunes - upbeat music can make you feel more positive.
7. Book a holiday - nothing helps the dark evenings to melt away than thoughts of a lovely warm holiday abroad!
8. Take up a new hobby or activity.
Join a drama group, sporting organisation or decide to create something over Winter.
9. Put down your phone and read a book.
Scrolling though your social media feeds usually do not help your state of mind, instead pick up an adventure, thriller, romance or fantasy book and lose yourself in it.
10. Get cosy - fluffy socks, pjs, an open fire and hot chocolate may be just what you need to survive the colder months.