The center of Holistic Health and Medicine is looking at all the factors that are impacting your health and well-being.
This includes your mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and nutritional health.
When one is off, it impacts the other areas as well, and could lead to sickness or disease throughout the whole body.
We’re entering the time of year when a lot of people experience some form of depression due to the stress of the holidays, loss of a loved one, loneliness, and not to mention the fatigue of this year’s events alone
That’s why I wanted to discuss the important topic S.A.D.
What is it and how it impacts your body, motivation and even your eating patterns?
What is S.A.D? (Seasonal Affective Disorder-Depression)
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that occurs when the seasons change.
For instance, in the Fall/Winter or Spring/Summer. The months where people are most impacted is in the winter, between December to February and it’s characterized by its recurrent seasonal pattern, with symptoms lasting about 4 to 5 months per year.
It’s important to note that mood changes within seasons are common and perfectly normal. Particularly in the fall/winter time when the days get shorter, the sun isn’t out as long and it gets darker sooner.
These changes not only affect our internal circadian rhythm (natural sleep cycle), but reduced exposure to sunlight (a.k.a Vitamin D) causes a chemical imbalance in the brain that might make you feel sad, sluggish, difficulty in concentrating, staying motivated or uninterested in doing any activities.
Vitamin D has so many important functions throughout the body and plays a crucial role in our metabolism and mood by helping maintain normal serotonin levels.
Serotonin is one of the hormones that affects and stabilizes our moods. So when that is low, we typically will feel low as well. Serotonin also impacts our eating, digestion and sleeping so it’s important we maintain healthy levels of this hormone; especially during the winter months when more people are prone to depression.
As I mentioned above, our internal circadian rhythm can be negatively impacted due to the season change as well. This can disrupt the production of melatonin- the hormone that impacts our natural sleeping patterns. When our natural sleeping patterns are disrupted, it can impact our moods which then impacts our eating patterns; craving or coping with high carb, high sugar foods to get a false “fix” if you will.
You see the pattern/trickle effect?
So it’s important we try to stabilize these hormones as much as possible, especially during this time of year.
How S.A.D Shows Up in The Body
– Fatigue/Low Energy
– Feeling Depressed most of the time
– Reduced Social Interaction – even more so this year with all that’s going on
– Change in appetite and weight (loss or gain) – overeating/eating high carb foods or not eating at all.
– Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
– Difficulty in concentrating & staying motivated
– Oversleeping and still feeling tired
10 Holistic Ways to Increase Serotonin & Manage S.A.D
1. Get outside when the sun is out for at least 10-15 minutes a day
-or if it’s too cold supplement with a Light Therapy Lamp that mimics sunlight
2. Stick to good bedtime habits (a.k.a- a consistent sleep schedule)
3. Move Your Body to increase those feel good endorphins and boost your mood
– take your workout outside and bring a bring a friend for accountability!
4. Journal Your Thoughts
5. Self-care- Do something you love the things that bring you JOY (Paint, DIY Project, Read, Listen to your favorite song/music etc.)
6. Light your favorite candles – set a comfy and cozy mood in your home
7. Use Essential Oils
9. Talk Therapy
10. Natural Supplements to improve brain health and mood: Vitamin D3, Omega 3’s, Melatonin, Green Tea, Cacao (Dark Chocolate)
The trick to these working successfully, as with anything in life, is to do them.
So choose a few to focus on and get a leg up on your mood and stay motivated this holiday/winter season.
If you have a history of depression or bipolar episodes, it’s also important to reach out for help and get the proper assistance.
If you’re ready for a fresh start and a boost of motivation, signup for the 7-Day Reset & Reboot to help get you and your eating patterns back on track and start the new year on a positive foot!