Seasonal Blues: What it is and What to do About it?

It’s that time of year again—a time of cool breezes, colored leaves and holiday preparation. Fall and winter are exciting times… Unless you suffer from a low sense of mental and physical energy because of the season. If you struggle with winter depression, this time of year is not filled with joy and anticipation. Instead, you probably feel like hiding indoors until spring arrives in several months.

The decreased amount of sunlight that fall and winter bring, is the main culprit.

  • Melatonin:  Melatonin is a hormone that impacts mood and sleep.  As the seasons change, your melatonin levels can fluctuate and may cause feelings of depression.

 

  • Serotonin:  When the amount of sunlight drops, so can your serotonin levels.  Since this chemical helps you have feelings of well-being and happiness, not having enough of it can cause your mood to drop.
     
  • Internal clock:  Some scientists think that decreased sunlight disrupts your normal rhythms of wakefulness and sleepiness. The result is sad and depressed feelings.

Good News – Ways to Combat Seasonal Blues

If you think that you may be one of the millions of people who are affected by mood changes during the fall and winter months, try experimenting with different treatment methods until you find one or a combination that works for you:

  1. Vitamin D3:  Vitamin D is frequently referred to as “The Sunshine Vitamin” because your body produces it when exposed to sunlight. In fact, just 20-30 minutes of sunlight will produce 10,000 – 50,000 IUs of Vitamin D. Why is this important? Vitamin D is actually a hormone that has important roles in supporting a healthy heart, cellular replication, immune system, mood & mental health, muscles, blood sugar levels, and more! Your health care practitioner may suggest an appropriate amount for you.

 

  1. Exercise:  Exercise is a powerful player in the fight against the seasonal blues. When you exercise, your body releases “feel good” chemicals called endorphins. These chemicals cause you to feel happy, confident and bring about a feeling of well-being. The elated feelings that endorphins bring are comparable to the feelings that morphine and heroin create. To release endorphins, you will need to sustain your workout for about 30 minutes.
     
  2. Natural, Live, Good Quality Food:  We all know that fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts and seeds are important. Making sure they are also good quality is essential. Foods that are local and seasonal would be a great start, such as the following:

 

  • – apples, cantaloupe, pears, plums

 

  • – amaranth, bitter melon, bok choy, mustard greens, snow peas, beets, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, peppers, potatoes, radish, rutabaga, sprouts, squash, tomatoes

 

Soups are a great way to get many vegetables (and culinary herbs) into your daily routine. Try this squash soup providing you with the nutrients needed and the warmth that comes along with it ????

 

Squash Broth Soup

Serves 1

 

  • 1/4 butternut squash (or 1 1/2 cups frozen butternut squash cubes)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp white onion
  • 1 Apple, cored and sliced (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil or 1 tbsp fresh, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

 

Peel the squash and cut into small cubes or use frozen squash. Place a small

saucepan onto the stove over medium heat. Add the olive oil and onions and lightly

sauté. Add the garlic, apple and squash (unless using frozen) and lightly cook. Add

the basil, ginger and cumin and add the frozen squash at this time, if using. Mix well

with the other ingredients. Add the broth. Bring to a boil and lower to simmer.

Cook until the squash and apple are cooked. Drain and rinse the cashews and add

to the soup mixture. Use a hander blender to puree or transfer to a regular blender and puree. Season to taste.

 

With the proper nutrition, adequate exercise, and a positive mindset, before you know it the days will begin lengthening out again!

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