Winter blues? How to manage cold weather stress, according to experts

We may have put 2020 behind us, but that doesn’t mean this year is any less difficult — especially winter time.

On top of anxiety associated with the coronavirus pandemic, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is very common during the colder months. Millions of American adults may suffer from the condition, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

The NIH says research suggests that serotonin levels decrease in the winter due to the lack of sunlight, which results in seasonal affective disorder.

To help you combat the winter blues and stress for the new year, we confided in some experts and sources on what works best.

Aromatherapy

(Photo courtesy of Amazon and Yankee Candle)Amazon and Yankee Candle

While freshening up your home, specific scents can impact your well-being and mood.

“I’m a big believer in eucalyptus and lavender for stress reduction, and citrus for mood augmentation,” Dr. Sudeepta Varma, a board-certified psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center, told NJ Advance Media.

Eucalyptus, lavender and citrus scented products:

–Village Candle Eucalyptus Mint for $20

–Necessaire “The Body Wash” in Eucalyptus for $25

–Jergens Eucalyptus Mint Body Butter Moisturizer for $6, instead of $7.49

–Yankee Candle Lemon Lavender (Large Jar) for $26.50

–L’Occitane Lavender Exfoliating Body Soap for $10

–SheaMoisture Lavender & Wild Orchid Body Oil for $18.18

–Dr. Teal’s Vitamin C & Citrus Foaming Bath for $4.87

–Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Lemon Verbena Scented Soy Candle for $9.68

–Yankee Candle Honey Clementine Concentrated Room Spray for $8

If you’re a fan of essential oils, there are also plenty of oil diffusers to choose from.

Oil diffusers to consider:

–Ultimate Aromatherapy Diffuser & Essential Oil Set for $32, instead of $40

–Essential Oil Diffuser Bracelet for $12, instead of $14

–2-in-1 Himalayan Salt Lamp & Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser for $60

–InnoGear Essential Oil Diffuser for $16

–Essential Oils Set for $15

Lord Jones

(Photo courtesy of Lord Jones)Lord Jones

Cannabidiol, more commonly referred to as CBD, has become an increasingly popular market in the U.S. and is projected to reach $20 billion per year by 2024, according to a report by Scientific American.

CBD interacts with a wide variety of receptors, but it’s not entirely known how it exerts its anti-anxiety effects,” Peter Grinspoon, M.D., a primary care physician, instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and medical cannabis consultant, told NJ Advance Media. “It helps with sleep, pain and anxiety — I have a ton of patients who swear by it.”

CBD products:

–Tribe Tokes CBD Gummy Bears starting at $45 (receive 15% off sitewide when you use promo code “WAKEANDBAKE15” at checkout.)

–Tribe Tokes CBD Pain Relief Cream starting at $15

–Lord Jones Wild Berry Hemp-Derived CBD Gum Drops for $45

–Best Buds CBD Drops starting at $5

–Lord Jones CBD Drops starting at $50

–Lord Jones Hemp-Derived CBD Dark Chocolate Espresso Chews for $30

–Best Buds HempCBD Capsules starting at $5

–Lord Jones High CBD Formula Bath Salts for $65

Amazon

(Photo courtesy of Amazon)Amazon

Using a 10,000-lux light for about 15 minutes once a day can help alleviate seasonal affective disorder, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

Therapy lights to consider:

–Verilux HappyLight 10,000-Lux LED Bright White Light for $50

–Miroco UV-Free 10,000-Lux Light Therapy Lamp for $38, instead of $60

–Brookstone 10,000-Lux Therapy Light for $35, instead of $80

–Wooden Miroco UV-Free 10,000-Lux Light Therapy Lamp for $38

Walmart

(Photo courtesy of Walmart)Walmart

Melatonin, which is a hormone the human body naturally produces, helps promote sleep — but some people don’t produce enough. Melatonin supplements, specifically one to three milligrams, can help insomnia if taken two hours before bedtime, according to John Hopkins Medicine.

“I like melatonin for sleep, which many folks are having issues with during COVID-19,” Varma says.

Melatonin products and other sleep aids:

–OLLY Sleep Gummy Vitamins with Melatonin (50-Count) for $12.42

–Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s Sleep Gummies with Melatonin (34-Count) for $10

–Nature’s Bounty Melatonin Sleep Aid Tablets (240-Count) for $7.74

–Hatch Restore Sound Machine, Smart Light and Clock for $130

–Dr. Teal’s Foaming Sleep Bath with Melatonin & Essential Oils for $4.87

–Deep Sleep Pillow Spray for $29

Lululemon

(Photo courtesy of Lululemon)Lululemon

If you need to let out some steam, exercise is a great outlet.

“Exercise bands and weights all help reduce anxiety through weight training,” Varma says. She also recommends practicing yoga — specially “Free Yoga by Adrian” YouTube videos.

Exercise equipment to consider:

–SPRI Resistance Stretch Band Kit (3-Pack) for $10

–Yoga mats; prices vary

–CAP Barbell Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells starting at $5.74

–Sivan Health and Fitness Yoga Set for $43

–3-Piece Kettlebell Set with Storage Rack for $60, instead of $90

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Nicolette Accardi can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @N_Accardi. Find NJ.com on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

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