With the dark nights and cold winter weather upon us, even the most positive of us sometimes suffer from a case of the 'winter blues', which is characterised by low energy levels, short temper, vanishing motivation and mild depression.
For some the winter months means a more serious condition Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is thought to affect two million people in the UK and ten million in the USA.
If you don’t think you can wait till our much-loved sun puts his hat back on, then here are some great ways to naturally beat the winter blues courtesy of the eco and natural marketplace EthicalCommunity.com.
Exercise & Yoga
Physical exercise has been proven to combat depression (one Duke University study found that exercise was more effective at treating depression than antidepressants). Exercise increases levels of endorphins in the body, which are known to make us happy. You don’t have to do much exercise either - just 30 minutes a day for adults, even if it is just getting outdoors and going for a long walk.
Yoga is also fantastic for naturally lifting your mood as its deep breathing techniques bring balance to the nervous system while the poses themselves work to reduce stress hormones (like cortisol) and trigger the release of your body’s natural feel-good chemicals (serotonin and endorphins).
Winter depression makes us feel tired and sluggish and the last thing you probably feel like doing is breaking out your running shoes or yoga mat, but this is mental barrier you need to break through. Getting your heart rate up will get rid of those winter blues in no time. Once you have a few sessions behind you you’ll start to crave regular exercise and actually look forward to it – honest.
Eat a healthy balanced diet
Eating healthy natural foods is important all year round, but in the winter months it is particularly important. Your body requires certain nutrients to function properly, fight off colds and illnesses and give you the energy you need to fight depression in the gloomy months.
Don’t give in to comfort eating. Step away from the biscuit tin, carbohydrates and “trans fats” (unsaturated fats). The last thing you need right now is to put on weight, as this will only make you feel worse about yourself. We all know this is tough this time of year but you will feel great by not giving in and if you fancy a little treat why not try a seeded flapjacks, from ethicalcommunity.com, they’re packed full of healthy goodness.
Make sure you eat plenty of ethically caught oily fish, organic fruit & vegetables and raw nuts and seeds. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Yes, it’s a tough one especially in the festive season but alcohol is a depressant so really wont do you any good if you are looking to shake those winter blues.
Boost your immune system to prevent the common cold
The last thing you want to do is wind up sick in bed feeling even more sorry for yourself. As they say, prevention is better than the cure so ward off any illness before you have time to catch one of them. Echinacea is brilliant at keeping out cold and flu and can either be taken in pill form or in tinctures, teas, available from ethicalcommunity.com, or directly eaten.
You should not underestimate the difference sufficient sleep and a regular sleep pattern will have on fighting winter blues. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to establish a regular sleep pattern and ensure you get seven to eight hours sleep a night.
If you struggle in getting to sleep try using organic lavender essential oil, available from ethical community.com, as it is especially good at calming the nervous system, relaxing the body and enabling blissful sleep. Try putting a bag of lavender under your pillow at night or use it through a diffuser.
tagged in Health