Winter is a difficult time for many Americans. This is especially true for my fellow Americans in the Northeast. We leave our homes for work and it’s dark outside. We leave our work for our homes and it’s dark outside. Pair the lack of sunshine with the biting cold and cloud cover inherent to most winters in the United States and it can slowly wear down a person’s resolve. It is difficult to succeed in our endeavors when our attitudes are negative.
The experts have coined this condition Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I do not think there is anything fancy to this condition. Human beings were not designed to work on the same tasks 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year for 40 years straight, let alone in an office environment with no natural light and fresh air. Americans do not get enough fresh air and sunshine as it is. The condition becomes so exacerbated in these times of limited daylight that depression is almost inevitable to a degree. We are wild animals deep down, after all.
The advantage humans have over other animals on Earth is that we have the ability to reason. I have designed a system to help me combat this seasonal depression with good success and I would like to share that system with you.
A Guide To Surviving Winter
1. Drink Coffee
Most of you probably already drink coffee in the morning. Well guess what? Coffee is a fantastic mood elevator. There is a contingency: I am speaking of real, good quality, fresh-brewed coffee. Sugar-and-fat-laden frappa-mocha-whatever will probably just result in a big insulin crash and added pounds that won’t make anyone feel good about themselves. The closer to black and sugarless you can drink it, the better.
2. Supplement With Vitamin D
Seasonal Affective Disorder is primarily thought to be caused by a lack of sunlight. The average American is already Vitamin D deficient. I have found that Vitamin D supplementation is tremendously helpful to my mood, especially when taken in the early AM shortly after waking. I believe it has to do with timing. Human beings are supposed to wake up with the sun, and timing the Vitamin D supplement with our waking up in the morning may have the effect of being woken by gentle rays of sunshine. Whether or not that is scientifically accurate, it makes sense to me logically. I can really feel the difference shortly after.
This is the Vitamin D supplement I use. I add a few drops to my morning coffee in the fall and winter (I reduce use in the summer because I’m out in the sun a lot). I like this supplement because it contains Vitamin K2, another fat-soluble nutrient missing from the typical American diet. Vitamin K2 is speculated to be the culprit behind the Western world’s epidemic of cavities, crooked teeth requiring braces and underdeveloped jawbones that do not accommodate wisdom teeth later in life. The Vitamin K2 in this supplement is in the form of MK-4, an animal-based form more readily accessible to our bodies than the less effective, plant-derived Vitamin K2 MK-7.
In addition, the oil the fat-soluble vitamins are suspended in is Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) oil, a shelf-stable, quickly metabolizing fat instead of typical highly refined, plant-based unsaturated fats that quickly go rancid on shelves and discourage absorption. I can feel a real difference supplementing with this product.
3. Break The Winter Into Phases
This is the real secret to success.
Winter in my mind doesn’t begin on the Winter Solstice and end on the first day of Spring. Instead, it begins when we turn the clocks back and ends when we push them forward. This year, my winter lasts from November 6, 2016, to March 12, 2017. Looking 127 calendar days into the future for relief on the day we turn the clocks back is a daunting task. Breaking that time into smaller phases marked by positive events makes this not only more manageable, but more enjoyable.
Phase 1: End of Daylight Savings Time to Thanksgiving Eve: November 6, 2016 – November 23, 2016
18 Calendar Days
It is easy to power through these 18 days. The sun sets early, but temperatures are still mild across much of the country. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which is a major morale booster. Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays that isn’t mired in controversy. A holiday centered around nothing but eating? Yes, please!
Phase 2: Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend: November 24, 2016 – November 27, 2016
4 Calendar Days
For most workers across the United States, this is the only sanctioned 4-day weekend on the calendar. What’s not to love?
Phase 3: End of Thanksgiving to Christmas Holiday: November 28, 2016 – December 23, 2016
26 Calendar Days
It can be a drag getting back to work after a nice 4-day break, but Christmas is right around the corner. These 26 days tend to fly by because we are so busy preparing for the holidays. It can be a financially stressful time of year for many trying to make ends meet, but I find togetherness is a better gift than anything material. Focusing on family and friends instead of possessions can help alleviate some of this stress. The smallest gifts often mean the most.
Phase 4: Christmas Holiday: December 24, 2016 – December 26, 2016
3 Calendar Days
More time off for many Americans. This will fly by without effort.
Phase 5: End of Christmas to New Years Holiday: December 27, 2016 – December 30, 2016
4 Calendar Days
A shortened work week!
Phase 6: New Years Holiday: December 31, 2016 – January 2, 2017
3 Calendar Days
The New Year’s holiday means more time off from work for most of us.
Phase 7: End of New Years to Daylight Savings Time: January 3, 2017 – March 12, 2017
69 Calendar Days
This is the longest phase we must endure. Some lucky workers have workplaces that observe Martin Luther King Day and President’s Day, but most private sector employers do not acknowledge these holidays. This is the ideal time to use a week of Paid Time Off, if possible. Go somewhere warm. Visit family and friends. Take comfort in the fact that each day from here on out gets a little bit longer and a little bit warmer.
I am an avid gardener, and this is when I start seedlings for the next year. It is is an exciting time because watching the plants germinate and grow reminds us that Spring and Summer are right around the corner.
Winter time is a war for many of us. Breaking the war into a series of battles allows us to achieve small victories along the way. Winning these battles makes the war less daunting. Making the war less daunting gives us a better chance at winning the war and being happy. And the happier we are, the more successful we tend to be.All information found herein, including any ideas, opinions, views, predictions, commentaries, forecasts, suggestions or stock picks, expressed or implied, are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only and should not be construed as personal investment advice. I am not a licensed investment adviser.