Are you sick and tired of winter fatigue that makes you feel like your couch is a viable option for days on end?
You're not alone in this.
Many people feel the winter blues. And with that comes feelings of sluggishness and a lack of motivation for life in general.
Others can develop Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which affects millions every year in the US.
Either way, fatigue, especially in the winter months, can take a serious toll on your health and energy levels.
Ready to take control of your health this winter? Keep reading to learn 10 tips for fighting off seasonal fatigue.
1. Sun Exposure
Notice you feel more energized when the morning sun is gleaming through your windows?
When you're exposed to sunlight, melatonin isn't released, making you feel alert and awake. And during night time melatonin is released, making you feel sleepy.
The same applies for a gloomy winter day. You feel sleepy because of the melatonin that's released and puts your internal clock out of whack.
Melatonin is a natural hormone we all have. It's created by our pineal gland.
If you want to take hold of your seasonal fatigue, natural sun exposure is just what the doctor ordered. Natural sunshine is optimal, but sitting by a window will help with fatigue too.
2. Tailor Your Diet for Winter Fatigue
What's the first thing you think of consuming when you're tired?
Chugging back copious amounts of coffee may seem appealing when you're feeling drained. But, it's only a temporary fix.
You're far better off to find foods that help fight seasonal fatigue.
Foods That Help with Seasonal Fatigue:
- Lean proteins
- Seeds and nuts
- Whole grains
- Chia Seeds
Look for foods that pack a nutritional punch as opposed to overly processed foods.
3. Load Up on H2O
If you're feeling exhausted, try swigging back some good old-fashioned water. There's an excellent chance the winter fatigue is being caused by dehydration.
Dehydration is detrimental to your health for a number of reasons.
Studies say dehydration affects mood, concentration, and it can give you headaches.
During this frosty season, you're likely not fancying ice-cold water. But it doesn't matter if it's warm, room-temperature, or ice-cold. As long as you get your recommended amount every day, you're golden.
You'll see a huge difference in your energy levels and motivation if you keep this up on a daily basis.
4. Avoid Soft Drinks
The terrifying effects soft drinks have on our bodies likely don't come as a surprise. But you might not realize it's contributing to your winter fatigue too.
Thankfully, less of us are consuming soft drinks than ever before. Each year more people are becoming aware of their effects and are opting for healthier alternatives.
Better Choices Include:
- Kombucha drinks
- Herbal teas (especially green tea)
- Non-herbal teas
Drinking soft drinks has the same reaction on your body as devouring loads of coffee. You feel a surge of energy for a short time, but then you'll crash and burn as fast as it began.
It also dehydrates you -- making it a double-whammy for your body.
5. Exercise on a Regular Basis
Research states regular exercise can help battle winter fatigue. This is true even for people enduring Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Next time you feel like napping for a week straight -- try a bout of heart-pumping exercise instead.
One study even found that exercise could reduce your fatigue symptoms by a whopping 65%.
After physical activity, you'll also feel an elevated mood.
6. Be Consistent with Your Sleep Schedule
If you're not getting enough shut-eye, it's no secret why you're feeling worn-out and tired.
What about establishing a consistent sleep routine? Have you tried implementing a sleep routine that stays the same every night?
Sticking to a routine will help set your sleep and wake cycle correctly. And your naturally occurring melatonin will function as it's intended.
Try to go to bed the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every day. You'll have a more restful night's sleep, resulting in less winter fatigue.
7. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy body weight lessens your risks of many diseases, plus has the added bonus of giving you more energy and motivation.
One study found a link between obesity and fatigue, especially with daytime sleepiness. They stated that it doesn't make a difference if the obese person has sufficient sleep. They'd still experience winter fatigue symptoms regardless of the amount of sleep they get.
During the prolonged winter months, it's not uncommon for people to gain weight. The lack of sunshine, as discussed, can leave you feeling unmotivated, resulting in less physical activity.
For a slew of reasons, it's imperative to alter your habits so you can maintain a healthy body weight. And a normal BMI (body weight index).
8. Limit Screen Time
More and more evidence has come to the fore showing how screen time is negatively impacting our sleep.
Harvard Medical School found that we can't produce sleep-inducing melatonin when we're staring at the lights that devices emit.
It's a grave concern because adults are not the only ones using screens before bed. It poses the same risk of sleepless nights and day-time fatigue for children.
Laying in bed with your phone on chilly winter nights can be tempting. But if you turn off devices 1-2 hours before you sleep, you may rid yourself of winter fatigue.
9. Reduce Stress
Easier said than done, right? But believe it or not, you can control the amount of stress in your life.
It's a given that stress is unhealthy. But did you ever stop to think that it may be impacting your sleep and causing your winter fatigue?
Luckily it's entirely possible to have an excellent sleep regardless of how tired you are.
There are various tactics you can try to bring on the sleep and reduce the stress.
Tips to Reduce Stress and Bring on the Sleep:
- Spend 1-2 hours relaxing before bed
- No screen time before bed
- Take a bath with essential oils or Epsom salts
- Read a book
- No coffee after lunch
10. Check With Your Doctor
If you're feeling exhausted all day long, every day -- it may be a warning sign of an underlying issue.
It's vital to see a professional to eliminate any health issues you may have.
Illnesses Show Extreme Fatigue as a Symptom?
- Mental health issues
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Sleep Apnea
- Thyroid Diseases
None of these are life-threatening, and all treatable. But the sooner you know what you're dealing with, the sooner you can get back to feeling rested and energized.
There's nothing we can do to make the sun shine on dark gloomy days. But generally, we do have complete control over how we feel.
It's normal to feel a little glum waking up on frigid winter mornings. But get ahead of the winter fatigue and do something about it!
Following these tips will not only combat seasonal fatigue, but it'll get you started on a healthier new life.
Are you struggling with seasonal fatigue? What tactics worked for you? Let us know down in the comments!