How did the summer escape me so quickly? I’m already wrapped up in layers, boots, and even managed to break an umbrella already! Every morning has become a massive effort – dragging myself out of bed, getting out of the shower barefoot on an icy tiled floor and dashing to work in the rain only to return in darkness. Sound familiar?
Well, from talking to other peeps about all this it seems I’m definitely not the only one labeling themselves as grouchy in winter, a self diagnosed SAD sufferer or becoming lethargic as the light fades and the days get shorter.
The winter blues will pass - honest. Here's a few of the things I do to get me through the dark months.
Reduce sugar & alcohol
We all know the downsides – calories, bad skin and the likes but sugar and alcohol can put a massive dampener on our moods. Alcohol in excess acts as a depressant and a diet high in sugar will leave you feeling sluggish and craving more so keep your eyes on those ingredients lists.
Boost your serotonin
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter known as a happy hormone. To get more into us, stick to protein rich foods like turkey, chicken, fish, cottage cheese, eggs, avocados, beans and nuts. Even if you’ve lost your appetite just keep eating! But keep it healthy and skipping breakfast is a big no no
I like to make batches of healthy soups and stews to put in the freezer. Knowing they’re there makes me feel better already. It’s also nice to try different grains for your carb intake like quinoa or couscous. They make great alternatives to sleep inducing white breads and pasta. Plus they look exotic and impressive with a salad at a dinner party.
It’s handy to throw some multivitamins into your handbag but here are some more specifically known to help with low moods: vitamin C – for your defences, zinc – for healing, B complex – for mood and stress, oils such as omega 3 and 6 – hormonal balance, and magnesium – relaxation.
These are definitely worth a try! St. John’s Wort is a popular one but you’ll need a prescription from your GP first. Or Rhodiola can be picked up in any good health food shop. The most effective way to take it is in tincture form. Just a few drops in a bit of water first thing in the morning will do the trick. Swish it around your mouth before swallowing to let the saliva membranes absorb all its magical goodness.
Well… even the thought of Earl Grey puts a smile on my face but another worth trying is liquorice tea. It helps settles mood swings and hormonal imbalances. Most supermarkets also stock nice blends for relaxation so why not treat yourself to a few wholegrain crackers with cottage cheese and a mug of herbal tea for a movie night in snack. I suggest Julie and Julia for a movie that will have you smiling from start to finish.
And don’t forget: Fresh air, sunshine and exercise will go a long way. Even if it’s 15 minutes a day, it’s worth it! Exercise will get your blood pumping with more happy hormones.
Last but not least, there is a ton of help out there. If you’re interested, you can consult doctors and nutritionists who specialise in moods with natural remedies. The Bio Balance Centre in Dublin is a great one. All details are on their website at http://biobalance.ie/and never feel shy about popping down to your GP for a chat either.
So look after yourselves! Engage in activities you enjoy, have something to look forward to, stay with positive people and enjoy the winter ahead. Any other advice out there?
Lisa de Jong