One of the things that I have ALWAYS struggled with during this time of year is the case of the “blahhs”. I am not diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder formally and I am absolutely not a Doctor but I clearly notice a distinct change in my mood after the holidays. I am perfectly fine through the holidays but in January when there is really nothing going on, the days are really dark and cold and the sun very rarely comes out in Western PA I notice it affects me A LOT!
I crave sunshine and warmth and I enjoy being outside and active. I absolutely dislike cold weather and the cold months here seem to drag on forever. I truly think I would be better if it was at least warm and got dark earlier! Regardless, since as far back as I can remember I tend to go downhill this time of year. I lack the energy to get out of bed, I have less motivation to be creative, to get projects done and I just want to sit on the couch and veg. I avoid leaving the house when it’s cold and dark, I find that I am a little grumpier and I could honestly sleep all day long! It really does take every bone in my body to get out of my warm bed on cold and dark days and get going.
So what is Seasonal Affective Disorder? Well according to Web MD, seasonal affective disorder or SAD is a type of depression that occurs during the same season each year. You may have SAD if you felt depressed during the last two winters but felt much better in spring and summer. Anyone can get SAD, but it is more common in:
-People who live far from the equator, where winter daylight hours are very short.
-People between the ages of 15 and 55. The risk of getting SAD for the first time goes down as you age.
-People who have a close relative with SAD.
-SAD is sometimes called winter depression or seasonal depression.
What Causes SAD?
Experts aren’t sure (according to WebMD) but it could be the lack of sunlight which can upset your biological clock that controls your sleep-wake pattern and other circadian rhythms. It can also cause problems with serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood.
What are the symptoms?
Feeling Sad, grumpy, moody or anxious, lose interest in your usual activities, eat more and crave carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta. You gain weight, sleep more but still feel tired and have trouble concentrating.
Thank goodness for social media because for the past few years I have posted about feeling this way and have had some incredible suggestions from other people that have truly helped me sooo much! I feel that I should share those with you to because if it can help you from feeling like the winter is dragging on forever then lets do it!
- For starters I started taking a few supplements: Vitamin D (1oo0 MG) and B-12 (5,000 MG) every single day.
- SunTouch Plus Sunlamp every single day for 30 minutes in the morning while I read my book and drink my coffee. Bright light treatment is usually prescribed for 30 minutes to 2 hours a day. It depends on how strong the light is and on whether you are starting out or have been using it for awhile.
- Essential Oils: Each day I use EN-R-GEE and BRAIN POWER essential oils from Young Living on my wrists and neck plus I diffuse the brain power in my USB diffuser in my office. I swear that it helps me focus on the tasks at hand!
- Shakeology: Shakeology helps to fuel my body with great all around nutrition that I typically would not get from the foods that I eat. It helps to keep my cravings in check, it gives me natural energy and it truly tastes good.
- Nutrition: Your mood is greatly effected by your nutrition. If you eat crappy food, your body is going to function crappy. It’s like putting the lowest grade gasoline in your sports car. It will not function correctly if you are not fueling it right. So, make sure to stay away from white processed flours, sugars, fried foods and hit fat foods. Follow the principles of clean eating, exercise proper portion control, and make sure you limit your treats to 1-2 a week.
- Water: Drinking water each and every day does help to speed up your metabolism, keep you full longer, give you mental clarity and help you stay hydrated.
- Exercise: As hard as it is to peel myself out of bed in the mornings on those dark and dreary days I know that it is going to be well worth it. Working out releases those feel good endorphins your body needs. It is so true, I never regret a workout and I always feel my best after a sweat session! So force yourself to get in 30 minutes at least 5 days a week.
- Plan a trip: If you can plan a getaway, even if it’s a weekend away with your spouse or family do it! Planning a trip gives you something to look forward to and it can make the time pass faster if you have a focus! The success club trips are always my focus because they are always in March or April! It gives me a focus for my workouts and nutrition and something to be excited for!
- Change your state: If you are feeling like it’s Groundhog Day every day in your life it’s time to switch things up. I work from home, I workout from home, and my husband is home too! There are times when I don’t leave the house for days! That can be a problem in and of itself. So, there are times when I grab my laptop and head to the coffee shop or meet up with a friend for a brainstorming session at a cafe so that I can at least change my surroundings and my vibes! If you always workout from home, phone a friend and take BOD to the park, to their house or to a community center! Take a yoga class or try something new to get out and about!
Like I said before, I am not a Doctor by any means and I would suggest going to your Doctor for blood work and to discuss your symptoms before treating but I wanted to share my tips that are working for me. Now, I still have days where I am like ENOUGH IS ENOUGH give me some sunshine but this is at least getting me through the winter months with a little more pep in my step.
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