The past 2+ years have been some of the hardest every for many of us. Sometimes it seems the whole world has gone mad. And then, winter comes…
As the days grow shorter and temperatures dip lower, an estimated 20% of US adults experience a seasonal bout of moodiness, apathy, and depression known as the winter blues (aka SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder in its more serious form).
Because of the lingering effects of the pandemic, year-end mood disorders could be worse than ever.
To successfully combat seasonal (or any time) stress, you have to get and stay ahead of it.
Good news is that we have a few nutrition and lifestyle changes to keep the blues from creeping into and setting up shop in our daily lives, so you can get back to thriving.
1. Fix your sleep regimen
If someone is feeling anxious or stressed out during the day, the first thing I ask them is “how are your nights going?” Many times people don’t realize how poorly they’ve been sleeping. If people are struggling with daytime stresses and sadness as well as struggling with sleep, I usually recommend handling the sleep first because many times that will often have a “halo” into the day. To improve sleep you can try a number of things including mediation, deep breathing, plant-based sleep supplements, and clearing the room of electronic distractions.
It may seem daunting to start a new fitness regimen, but know that “exercise” doesn’t have to mean miles of running or heavy lifting; a brisk walk around the block will do the trick to get you started. In fact, a 15-to-30-minute workout has been shown to greatly improve overall health and well-being, and starting small helps you to ease into a routine that you can stick with. Get extra credit for exercising outside with the the added bonus of exposure to natural sunlight.
3. Gradually clean up your diet
Like exercise, little changes can add up over time and make a big difference to your physical and emotional well-being. Start small with changes like cutting out the extra spoon of sugar in your morning coffee, swapping out a sugary snack for a handful of almonds, or drinking an extra glass of water during the day – try it for a week and see how it makes you feel.
4. Anticipate stress / be proactive
Preventing a spike in stress is always easier than trying to recover from one. Be aware of any daily occurring situations that create stress for you, and stay ahead of them through exercise, supplements, a brief meditation – anything that can improve your baseline so you can better adapt to the increase in stress.
Not sure what causes those spikes in stress? Becoming more aware when they happen helps you identify patterns and triggers, so next time you can anticipate and prepare.
5. Consume more mood-boosting vitamins & minerals
Choose foods or supplement with vitamins & minerals – including vitamin-D, vitamin-B complex, and magnesium (we love magnesium glycinate) – that help lift mood. Try adding more leafy green vegetables, nuts, mushrooms, avocados, and bananas to your diet with bonus points for swapping them in for other lower nutritional value and processed foods you’re eating today.
6. Try adaptogens and nootropics
Adaptogens are non-toxic compounds that help the body adapt to mental & physical stress and restore homeostasis (physiological balance). Nootropics are compounds that improve cognitive function, such as memory, creativity, focus, memory recall and mood. Combined, adaptogens + nootropics offer a 1-2 punch of brighter days ahead. Here are some of our favorites:
1. Saffron: improves mood and supports cognitive function
2. Rhodiola: supports body’s ability to react to and recover from stress
3. Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng): boosts energy and mental stamina
4. Hemp extract: stress reducing and system balancing
Prioritize your own health & wellness and keep your cup full with these mood-boosting solutions: