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The effect of Winter on your Health | Take your vitamins!

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

In the words of Jon Snow: “Winter is coming, we know what’s coming with it.”

Winter is officially here and in case you haven’t noticed, it has already started to show its first signs of ending. Longer, cloudy days, and dead trees are part of this season in which you need to be proactive about taking care of your health. Don’t worry though! I will teach you how to best deal with the Winter season and for cheap.

Why should I care about vitamins in the Winter?

Vancouver is a place where, for better or worse, you have all seasons. A spring full of flowers (and bees 😫), summer that brings high temperatures, fall in which leaves turn orange, and winter that is cold and dark.

If this is your first time in a place like this, you should know that people normally take supplements during the Winter season. The lack of sun during these months will affect your vitamin production and can even lead you to be SAD.

What is SAD?

SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. It occurs in climates where there is less sunlight at certain times of the year and its symptoms include fatigue, depression, hopelessness and social withdrawal.

Other names for SAD include, seasonal depression and winter depression. However, I’m here to tell you that there is a way to help your body fight this. Introducing… vitamins!

Which vitamins should I take during the Winter?

The main vitamin you have to worry about is vitamin D3. During Spring, Summer, and Fall, there is enough sunlight for your body to produce it on its own and complement the vitamin D you get from your diet. In the winter, however, the sun is not strong enough for the body to make vitamin D.

Multivitamins can also help supplement your diet and can be taken throughout the year, not only during Winter.

Where do I get vitamin D3?

Good news! You can buy vitamin D3 in any pharmacy, including London Drugs and Shoppers. As for the dosage… go to the pharmacist and ask them which one to buy and how much to take. They will ask you a couple of questions and then send you on your way!

What else can I do if I can’t take vitamin D3?

If you can’t take vitamin D3, you can always use alternative methods to prevent the symptoms of SAD, such as light boxes. These lamps are used for light therapy in which you expose yourself to a very bright lamp that will trigger serotonin (the feel-good hormone or happy hormone) production in your brain. This will help stabilize your mood.

Another good prevention method is to be with other humans. One of the natural reactions to the cold and dark environment is to stay home. Try not to do that! Organize to get together with friends and eat some pizza, watch Netflix together or whatever makes you be in the same space, having conversations and sharing a laugh.

Finally, if you are already experiencing symptoms of this seasonal disorder, remember there is free psychological help for ALL international students through Here2Talk.

Take care of yourself, and good luck this Winter!

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