DSMA asked us last month (I know, I’m late!):
What can we do to help stop depression from hitting our community during the winter months?
Well, this is a good question indeed.
I think first we need to make sure we are getting sufficient Vitamin D. Next time you get blood work done, have your doctor test your levels. If they are not in optimum range, get a supplement (or sunlight if that’s possible where you live). Do not take Vitamin D2. Take Vitamin D3. This is really important. Don’t count on the Vitamin D in your soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk-it’s all D2 and this form does not raise your levels. So be sure to get D3. Have your levels checked again in a few months to make sure you’re not under or over supplementing.
Secondly, I find that if I am dealing with a little depression before or during the Holidays, by the time January rolls around, I kind of fall apart. So I think being proactive is important. Getting Vitamin D levels at optimal levels by September, exercising a little each day or at least each week through the Holiday season, and making plenty of time to slow down and rest.
For people with diabetes, we tend to go, go, go during December and eat the goodies we want, resulting in higher blood sugars. Higher blood sugars for a few weeks predisposes us to depression because it really alters our moods. If you feel sick for a few weeks, it’s naturally going to take a toll and this isn’t limited to your body as your mind also gets affected. So I think that trying to sustain blood sugar management during this time of year is crucial.
By January, I am tired of working out when it’s cold and then I run into problems with my blood sugars. I think that finding creative ways to work out indoors is also important because the reality is that I’m not the only one who doesn’t make it out due to the weather.
Being focused on gratitude and possibilities is helpful, too. Keeping perspective.
Lastly, putting off feelings of depression often makes them worse. Get help. See a therapist or counselor, tackle the issues mostly fueling depression, and if needed take something to help you get out of the cycle of lowly feelings.
I’ve struggled with depression in the Winter since I can remember. This year is the first year I’ve taken Vitamin D year round and I feel much better. I’m also taking something for anxiety and depression and that has helped immensely as well. If you’re struggling, tackle the problem and work on healthy lifestyle habits. You can feel better.
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