Surviving the change of season
I thought I would take a moment to talk about ways to keep our minds and bodies healthy as the weather changes around us. As beautiful as the last few days have been, the temperature will continue to drop as the days become shorter and darker, and we need to be prepared for what that means for our moods and immune systems! Over the next few weeks, I'll be adding a new suggestions to implement in your daily lives.
Many people experience mood dips with the start of fall and winter and these mood changes can last until the beginning of spring. The technical term for this is Seasonal Affective Disorder, and it can range from hardly noticeable to crippling. Much like depression, these symptoms can include sadness, irritability, brain fog and lowered energy. Today I would like to share some simple lifestyle changes that can be used to fight off the fall/winter blues!
1) Sunlight! It's no secret that the sun is a wonderful tool to fight off any sad feelings. Getting outside for 30 minutes during the day helps to increase vitamin D levels in the body (supplementation will be covered in another post) as well as feelings of happiness. If natural sunlight is not an option, due to weather or health reasons, then light therapy (at 30 mins per day) has also been found to decrease SAD symptoms by almost 50%!
2) Exercise! It is well known that exercise plays a role in fighting off any type of depression, though it has also been found to be just as effective as light therapy in the treatment of SAD. If you exercise outside in the sunlight then you are getting a 2 in 1 treatment! What a deal!
3) Hydration! Proper hydration can take care of some of those pesky SAD symptoms that are experienced during the winter months. I've noticed that energy and mental focus are two of the biggest improvements in my patients when they begin reaching their 2L/day goal! Who doesn't want that??
4) Nutrition! Eating a varied diet rich in vitamins and minerals is always important in keeping our bodies and minds working optimally, though we can also tailor our diet to produce optimal levels of our happy hormone, serotonin. Foods such as spirolina, spinach, turkey, chia seeds, salmon and halibut are all healthy option foods high in Tryptophan (which is converted to Serotonin in our bodies). Please note that high-tryptophan foods can be problematic in people on SSRI anti-depressants! Please talk to your NDs or MDs if this is a concern for you. If you would like more information on any of these topics than you can book an appointment with me by messaging me on my website www.tslemon-nd.com, visiting my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TaraSlemonNaturopathicDoctor or by calling the clinic at 905-697-3111. Remember that these suggestions may not be right for everyone, and an individualized treatment plan prepared by your ND is always best!
Stay healthy and stay tuned for more in the weeks to come! :)