How are you navigating the change in season?
Human beings are cyclical beings, meaning that we are influenced by cycles such as our sleep cycles and we also are influenced by the seasons. Women of course are also influenced by their menstrual cycles.
The nights are now shorter and the day light hours are less. To support our natural cycles, we need to give our hormones the best chance of being in balance. If you embrace the changes that winter brings and support and nourish your body it can really help.
During the winter, some people suffer from SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder which is known as ‘winter depression’. The reason that some people suffer is due to the lack of sunlight and this affects hormone production such as serotonin, the happy hormone and also our sleep hormones melatonin. Low levels of serotonin can lead to a disruption of circadian rhythms and restless sleep.
To tackle SAD syndrome
If you find that you are laughing less, have little or no pleasure in normal everyday activities, are feeling tired and sleeping more you may be suffering from Seasonal Affected Disorder. The good news is that there are things you can do to help you boost your mood.
So, with this in mind here are my 5 Must Haves for Winter:
1. Eat – meals packed with healthy wholesome foods will ensure you are eating the right nutrients in your diet to support hormone and neurotransmitter production such as serotonin and melatonin production. Try and include the examples below:
- Tryptophan foods provide the building blocks for serotonin and melatonin production. Good sources: turkey, chicken, whole grains, beans, rice, lentils, cottage cheese, bananas, eggs, almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds
- Magnesium supports your mood, energy balance and sleep. The body requires a lot of magnesium especially during times of stress and this pandemic is a stressful time. Good sources: green leafy vegetables, almonds, cashews, chia seeds, pumpkins seeds, sunflower seeds and wholegrains
- B Vitamins support brain health and mood and are involved in the metabolism of tryptophan to serotonin. Good sources: beef, pork, chicken, leafy greens, legumes, rice, nuts, eggs
- Garlic has antiviral qualities so is helping fight off viral infections as well with other antiviral foods such as ginger, cinnamon and turmeric. They all provide lots of flavour to your cooking but also help to support the immune system as the same time.
- Omega 3 fats are essential fats for brain, mood and hormonal health. Good sources: oily fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, extra virgin olive oil (3)
2. Exercise – Great way to boost your mood and get out to increase your exposure to natural light. When it’s colder it can be harder to get outside but even if you get out for 10 minutes and be active and exercise you will feel better for it! So, get outside every day to increase your exposure to natural light.
3. Sleep – You will benefit from shifting your bedtime routine so that you get more sleep during the winter months. With this in mind, it can be helpful to also bring forward your evening meal.
4. Vitamin D – Vital for energy, mood, sleep and immune function. Vitamin D is one of the most powerful nutrients for supporting the immune system and adequate levels of Vitamin D are being linked to better outcomes.
5. Light therapy – During the winter months consider a light box which mimics outdoor light.