Happy fall everyone! I hope that everyone is enjoying the festivities of the season. As the days start to shorten, leaves start to lose their bright green glow and fall to the earth, and the suns rays stop stretching quite as far, it is not uncommon to start to feel a little down. While Fall brings lots of new thing, like pumpkin, apples and the promise of cozy nights in snuggled up with a book, but it can also bring an overall feeling of melancholy and for a some people even feelings of down right depression, as noted in cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D
S.A.D affects millions world wide, and is generally brought on by the change of season, when we get less sunlight and more darkness. While there may not be much we can do about the earth spinning on its axis away from the sun, there are some little tips and tricks you can use to help yourself beat the “Winter Blues”…
- Vitamin D - In the winter, we are generally exposed to a lot less sun than in the summer. This means that our skin will not be converting as many sunny rays into much needed vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for a plethora of body processes and, if you have become deficient in it, can effect your mood. Vitamin D deficiency is common in northern countries in the winter, and I recommend that you get your daily dose of 1000 IUs for adults, and 400 IUs for children under the age of 12.
- Eat Like A Monkey - This is one of my favourite tricks. Bananas are a really good source of the essential amino acid Tryptophan, which plays a significant roll in your mood. Tryptophan serves as a precursor (or a catalyst, if you will) to the neurotransmitter Serotonin. Serotonin helps to regulate appetite, sleep patterns and your mood.
- Get Enough Sleep - So many important chemical interactions happen when you are asleep. When you get to bed before ten, your body is able to fully produce and set into effect, the hormone ‘Human Growth Hormone’. You can think of this as one of your healing hormones, as it serves to help proliferate cell re-growth and regeneration. The better your body is healing, and the more deep sleep you get, the better your moods with be.
- Exercise - Of course this list would not be complete if I did not mention physical activity! This is one of the most important things you can do for your mood. When you are active, your body releases endorphins, which interact with receptor cells in the brain, helping to block pain and regulate mood. It also can increase feelings of strength, capability and self confidence, which are also important mood boosters. So pick your favourite way to move, be it walking, running, dancing, or, ahem, yoga, and do it for at least 20 minutes as many times a week as you can. Yoga also has extra pick-me-up benefits like deep breathing, stretching and social interaction!
I wish you all a healthy, balanced and HAPPY Fall season!
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