The nights are drawing in earlier and in a few weeks we change the clocks back and many people start to feel low, less inclined to socialise and go out, some experience a deep depression. These seasonal blues known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and is something that can be eased with some adjustments to your lifestyle so I am writing this blog hoping that it helps you and to let you know that you are not alone. I am not physically, mentally or emotionally well suited to damp, cold weather and having a vestibular condition that cold can really trigger symptoms but here are a few things that I do to manage so I hope that it helps you in some way too.
During the colder months the appeal of stodge is real! One of the reasons is that we often feel more tired with dark late afternoons it feels like we should be preparing for bed not packing a bag to head to the gym. This coupled with lower Vitamin D, which if too low can contribute to depression, can make us feel SAD. What you eat will affect the level of SAD you experience so firstly, eat as fresh as possible and seasonally enjoying beans, kale, asparagus etc. Maybe consider using a Vitamin D supplement, I like the Biocare drops which I personally use. Plenty of hearty, healthy stews and casseroles are great with a side of steamed greens.
And… avoid the sugar. I know this is easier said that done, sugar is incredibly addictive and coupled with SAD there maybe emotional reasons why you head for bread, biscuits, cakes and chocolate. Most of my clients know what to eat, they are well read in the field of diets and nutrition but each have different reasons why they don’t eat the way they know they should, this is emotional eating and SAD can trigger this too because perhaps any feelings of loneliness or shame get heightened simply by closing the curtains early the evenings feeling longer. This is something that I can help so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Eating low GI is the best method of stabilising your sugar levels by choosing foods that slowly release into your blood stream so you avoid the rush. Increase your intake of good fats too, such as oily fish, nuts, avocado.
Drink lots of water, but you knew that right? And maybe try a Valerian tea blend before you go to bed to help aid a restful night’s sleep.
Mental and Emotional Wellbeing
SAD can affect any of us at anytime, so investing in a SAD lamp can help. I bought mine a few years ago and really like how the light starts to come on thirty minutes before you are due to wake. It creates a much more gentler start to the day and illuminates the room gradually so your body isn’t shocked quite so much by an alarm. I got mine from amazon but can’t find the exact one there anymore but if you search SAD lamps/SAD light therapy there are plenty to choose from.
SAD can affect your sleep, ability to deal with stress, sex drive, general mood and levels of energy so self care is important. Include meditation in your week and day if you can. Nuture yourself with epsom salt baths, use essential oils, eat foods that nourish you to help you feel more relaxed.
Connect with people, don’t isolate yourself, make time to meet for a cuppa and chat.
Get active, ignite the endorphins, release some stress. Exercising outside or a well paced walk will do wonders for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Being out in nature has so many benefits so make the effort because the rewards are worth it.
Keep going with yoga and tai chi classes, don’t stop them because its dark and cold outside, your body will thank you for going. Movement will also help you to sleep, as you may feel a bit ‘meh’ by the afternoon if you are not moving your body much at all and then when the dark starts to creep it may pull you further down a spiral so try and get out and get your heart pumping at the very least several times a week.
These are just a few things that work for me and I hope that they can help you.
Stay warm and keep moving!