You guys know I’m not any kind of doctor. This is just advice from a mom who knows how to Google stuff and type. So:
Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common worldwide. Vitamin D is a hormone your body produces when it’s exposed to sunlight. If you don’t get enough sun, because you’re indoors a lot, or because you wear sunblock and protective clothing outdoors, or if you live north of the Mason-Dixon line, or you’re overweight, or you have dark skin, or you’re old — so, most people I know — your body is almost certainly not making enough Vitamin D, and you may be feeling a little or a lot garbagey because of it.
The best thing to do is ask your doctor to get tested. The second best thing (assuming you don’t have kidney problems, or other health problems! Ask your doctor!) is to do is to just buy a bottle of vitamin D3 and start taking some, and see what happens. I got a giant vat of D3 50 mcg (2,000 IU) gummies from Walmart and I started taking 3 of them (so 6,000 IU) with dinner. This is kind of a lot, and is more than is recommended, so I’ll ask to be tested next time I go to the doctor, and I’m keeping an eye out for negative symptoms like nausea and constipation.
But my story is: In about a week, I started feeling better. I feel more alert and less brain-foggy than I have in a long time. I don’t have to struggle against falling asleep every afternoon. I’m feeling more energetic and upbeat in general. And I have been sleeping SO WELL. Like, my nighttime is not made up of series of confused, unhappy memories of getting up and lying down again and struggling with my sheets. I’m just unconscious.
This is not the only thing I’ve been doing to try to have a different kind of winter. I really struggle in the cold months, and I also have various moderate but intractable health problems that get discouraging. I have PMDD and a little bit of arthritis and chronic migraines, and my birthright is a heaping helping of gloom. So I’ve been doing yoga, which helps a lot; I’ve been taking Prozac, which helps a lot, especially with the PMDD; and I’ve been working on resetting the way I eat, which helps a lot. I also have committed to making a morning offering before I check my phone, and that helps a lot. I’ve been using those nose opening sticky strips, which helps a bit. And I stopped drinking, and I don’t want to talk about it. But anyway, I have been trying to feel better, so I can do better, and I was starting to think, “Welp, I guess I’m just old, and this is how it is.”
Turns out you can just eat a few gummies in the evening, and it helps a lot! I have bought vitamin D pills in the past, but I’m so burnt out on taking pills and keeping them straight, I just wasn’t motivated enough to add more. It’s a little silly, but gummies are sweet and easy, so it turns out that was enough to actually make me eat them every day. It’s not dumb if it works, right? Or even if it is dumb, it still works.
I’m making a whole big post out of this because I know (a) how much information there is out there about fixing yourself, and how overwhelming it can be and (b) how helpful it can be to get specific advice from someone you already sorta know and (c) how hard it is to make even one tiny little easy change when you feel like crap all the time. It’s probably true that it’s a combination of things that is helping me; but it’s so rare that something this easy makes a difference.
What kind of improvement am I talking about? I got up this morning, flicked on the overhead bedroom light, saw the bulb had blown, and just . . . went and got a new bulb, climbed up on my bed, and put it in. I also cleaned off the light fixture, and while I was up there, I went around and wiped away all the cobwebs and dust on the ceiling and wall corners. Then I put the wipes away and threw out the used one, threw out the old lightbulb, and put the empty box in recycling. And I’m on my period right now.
So no, I’m not running marathons suddenly! Let the reader understand. Some of us struggle with everyday stuff, especially in the dark months. If that sounds like you, maybe get some Vitamin D gummies. Put the bottle next to something you are definitely already going to do every day, so it’s easy to remember. Just try it. If you start feeling better in about a week, you’re probably taking the right level. If you do get tested, your levels may be VERY low, and your doctor may recommend taking high doses by prescription for a while, and then backing down to a maintenance dose. Do ask your doctor! Do not take mega doses without asking your doctor! It is possible to take too much Vitamin D and that will hurt you!
Again, me no doctor, so check with your doctor, especially if you have any kidney issues. (I asked a pharmacist to check for me and make sure it was compatible with all the other meds I take.) Take the vitamin with a little food or milk or something with fat for best absorption. Some people think it interferes with sleep, so maybe take it in the morning. (I don’t have this issue, so it works to take it in the evening.) And yes, I’m encouraging the rest of the family to take it, too.
Good luck! Winter is hard. Life is hard. This might help.