Now that the clocks have gone back, it’s so easy to shun the gym, getting fit and eating healthy ethos. Well, it’s cold and miserable and it’s hard to drag ourselves in the cold right? But did you know that this is probably one of the most important times of year when you should be exercising and eating well to stop the winter blues kicking in. One in 15 of us in the UK become depressed in winter and suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Others have low spirit and are just down right in the dumps. So what do you do to feel like yourself again?
Winter blues is normally about lack of daylight. So the solution is to get outside as often as you can especially om bright days. Sitting by a window can also help. I know most of us are practically tied to our chairs for the best of 9 to 5 including our lunch hour but I say this, “even five minutes of fresh air is better than getting miserable. So what? You’ll just have to make up those five minutes elsewhere, your mental health is far more important!”
It really is so important to eat well. Winter blues can leave you craving sugary foods and carbohydrates. But these foods will just leave you feeling even more low, feel slow, tired, and downright blue, while others can increase nutrient levels in the body and give you a mood-lifting effect. For the most part it comes down to tryptophan. This amino acid is needed for the body to create a series of neurotransmitters, including serotonin and melatonin. These help you sleep better, reduce pain, and give you an overall good feeling. Eat mood lifting foods like fish, bananas, blueberries and sweet potatoes.
This is a great weapon against the seasonal slump. There is lots of convincing evidence out there to prove that 30 minutes of vigorous exercise three times a week is effective against depression. Even lighter exercise will have benefits too. Activity is believed to change the level of the mood-regulating chemical solution serotonin in the brain. Better still, do your workout outdoors, and you’ll get the light as well!
If you are suffering from SAD on a higher scale, it’s best to consult your GP. But for the rest of you, what are you waiting for? Get outside and exercise the winter blues away!