Keeping the Winter Blues at Bay...the Natural Way
The school run this morning was glorious! The sun was shining and for once we were on time which meant we were able to take our time on the usual hurried 10 minute walk/part run to school. My littlest one, Finn, still stops to inspect every twig, insect and stone that he comes across and my older one, Sophia, has taken to collecting leaves along the way. It really is beautiful to watch them look at the world around them in awe especially on such a crisp, sunny Autumnal day like today.
I looked up and took a quick snap of how the leaves were changing colour against the back drop of the blue sky. I thought to myself how the nights are now drawing in and the temperatures have dropped, I've been wearing jumpers rather than t-shirts and once this week we even wore gloves on the school run! As much as I love Autumn, I don't like how the days are shorter and for many people who suffer from SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder, it can be really detrimental to their mental health.
So I've put together a few tips to help prevent feeling the blues.
1. Sunlight Exposure
Maximise the amount of natural sunlight on offer. Sunlight stimulates our body’s production of serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’. So the dark and dull days of winter can easily deplete your serotonin levels, making you feel low, sluggish and tired, so get out there and make hay while the sun shines! Vitamin D can help with the symptoms of mild depression and SAD. The best way to get this vitamin is through sunlight on the skin. The best way to get vitamin D is from spending lots of time in the sun.
2. Get Moving
Don't neglect your exercise routine. Even on those chilly mornings when it's still dark and you want to hibernate under your duvet, the best thing you can do is get up and get moving. Go for a stroll, a jog or power your way through a sweat inducing workout at the gym. Any form of physical exercise will help to get the serotonin levels up.
3. Snack Happy
Highs and lows in energy can be caused by sugary foods and are unhelpful for anyone’s mood so try to achieve a healthy balance. Go for snacks that contain a good combination of slow-releasing (unrefined) carbohydrates, proteins, and if possible, some healthy fats such as avocado or salmon on oat cakes.
Treat yourself to an aromatherapy massage or inhale some essential oils through a diffuser. Light some aromatherapy candles to help lift your mood and relax you. Whatever way you choose here are the best oils to make you feel happy:
Lavender - can aid sleep and relieve anxiety
Rose Geranium - uplifting and can help ease low mood
Wild Orange - invigorating and can help with low energy
Bergamot - found in Earl Grey tea, it can help to soothe anxiety
Frankincense - can help ground you when you feel anything but.
Ylang Ylang - can help to lower blood pressure
So although I'm no expert, when I start to feel the winter blues creeping in, I know that with a bit of self care, healthy eating and exercise my mood starts to lift. Having said that, if things still don't start to feel better and you are concerned, then you should go and see your GP.
Let me know in the comments below if you can add a few more tips.