This article was written by the lovely Gillian Rader, aka Organic Wild Child. Here in New York City, it has been freezing cold and very dark, and it can be a challenge to keep your spirits and energy up, especially in the busy holiday season. Below, Gillian discusses SAD (seasonal depression disorder), offers some tips, and points out the most important things to watch out for this winter. Enjoy and stay warm!
Don’t Let the Winter Get you Down!
SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is showing its face again as the days become shorter and people are being exposed to less sunlight. Research shows that 25 million people suffer from the disorder with the majority of them being women.
The lack of sunlight means a result in less serotonin, the mood enhancing chemical responsible for controlling hunger and feelings of well being. When serotonin levels are low people often experience feelings of depression, change in appetite, shift in sleep patterns, irritability and so on.
How to boost serotonin levels:
1. Exercise- This is a sure way to get your mood elevated. The weather may leave you wanting to stay inside and hibernate, and if this is the case, you can still find ways to move your body. Turn the radio on, or put on your favorite music and dance! I rarely have more fun than the afternoons, when my sister and I play some music and have hysterical dance parties in our home. We both ALWAYS feel energized and have laughed so hard our mouths hurt.
2. Eat balanced foods- You want to make sure that you avoid raising blood sugar levels constantly because this will have you crashing through out the day. Foods to avoid are: white flour, white sugar, processed foods, coffee, etc. Eat whole foods, whole grains, fruits and veggies, which all promote serotonin levels, and make sure to eat enough protein.
3. Light- Expose yourself to artificial light. If you are able to go outside and there is sunlight, take advantage of it. Force yourself to walk around even if it is cold. The light from the sunshine will naturally boost your serotonin levels. If you are living in a place where the sun simply will not shine this time of year, you can invest in high wattage light bulbs that mimic the effects of natural sunlight.
4. Supplement with 5-HTP- This can be found in most health food stores or online and boosts serotonin levels. It is meant to be taken for short periods of time and is not a long time cure. Check with your health care provider before supplementing.
5. LAUGH!!! Watch a funny movie. Go out with a friend that always knows how to put you in a good mood. Bake your favorite dessert. Cook a delicious soup and let the aromas fill the house. Take a warm bath. There are so many things you can do to lift your spirits this time of year, don’t let the weather get you down!
About the Author
Gillian Rader is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor who is passionate about empowering others to heal themselves emotionally, physically and spiritually. She is currently participating in a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training and looks forward to merging the practice of holistic health and body movement into a practice which will benefit people here in the United States as well as abroad.
~Pure Heart, Pure Food, Pure Health!~
Check out Gillian’s Blog Here