How to Cope with the Winter Blues

(NC) During colder months, many of us can suffer from what's known as the winter blues. Symptoms can include crankiness, fatigue, low energy and anxiety, and are usually caused by the shorter days we experience in our winters. Feel healthier and happier so you can take advantage of what the winter wonderland has to offer with these three tips from the Canadian Health Food Association.

Eat smart. The cold weather might make us want to reach for snacks and junk food, but these treats do little more than fill our stomachs with unnecessary calories and simple carbs. Instead, reach for smarter options, such as whole wheat breads or healthy fats like fatty fish or avocados. Rather than making you full and ready for a nap, these foods will give you a boost of energy for your snowy outdoor adventures.

Enhance your ambiance. When we're huddled inside away from the cold, it's especially important to make sure our home is cozy and happy. There are many ways to achieve this, whether it's redecorating, adding plants or using aromatherapy, which has been shown to help with bad moods. In fact, diffusing a calming essential oil, such as lavender, may help improve mood and increase feelings of relaxation.

Sleep well, not just more. According to a survey conducted by CHFA, 73 per cent of us say that lack of sleep has negative effects on our happiness. Improving sleep quality is just as important as getting enough hours each night. One way to do this is supplementing with melatonin, which can decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep while increasing the amount and quality of our rest.

When shopping for natural health products, remember to look for the eight-digit Natural Product Number (NPN) on the label. This is your assurance that the product has been licensed by Health Canada and approved to be safe, effective and high-quality.

For healthy tips and to find a CHFA Member health food store in your neighbourhood where you can find all these and more, visit chfa.ca.

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