Have you been feeling out of sorts, perhaps irritable, and less tolerant?
You are not alone.
In the past few weeks I have heard many of my clients, friends, and family members express that they have not been feeling themselves, like something is off.
They expressed feeling more irritable and less tolerant of other people as well as their personal circumstances, and just wanting to stay home in bed.
Has that been your experience lately?
Don’t despair, you are not alone.
With the changes in weather and having shorter sunny days, the body requires a different kind of support.
With cloudy, cold days, comes the instinctual need to hibernate. That means, we tend to stay indoors more often, move less, and eat more.
There is nothing wrong with that, except our internal clock and rhythm gets out of balance because we are not receiving the appropriate cues from the environment (the sun) to adjust to the time change, and we are not delivering the supplements necessary for our body to manage the change in season and therefore affecting our mood.
What you are experiencing may be what is commonly called The Winter Blues.
There are many studies that link Vitamin D (sunlight) deficiency to symptoms of depression. Symptoms of depression in children and adolescents can sometimes be expressed as irritability.
In addition, lack of exercise can be a detriment to not only your physical health but your mental health, since moderate exercise improves mood by releasing endorphins.
How to combat those winter blues?
Here are some ideas you may want to implement, if you haven’t already:
– Check with your functional medicine doctor which supplements you may be deficient. You may find that all you needed is a natural supplement to improve your mood.
– Spend 5 minutes facing the sun, eyes closed. If it’s a cloudy day, double the amount of exposure. This will help you adjust to the time change and reset your circadian rhythm to improve your sleep and energy.
– Integrate moderate exercise in your routine. Make it non-negotiable. Moderate exercise three days a week minimum will strengthen your health and mood.
– Be mindful of what you eat and be sure to give your body the nutrients it needs.
– Use a Sun Lamp to support you on days you are not able to face the sun.
– Give yourself permission to rest if you are tired, however, if you find yourself sleeping excessively, check with your doctor for any physical issues.
– Work on a fun, creative project that keeps you engaged and motivated.
– Make plans with loved ones so you don’t isolate yourself.
– Bring more light into your life through candles, light-color clothing, or decorations.
– Create a vision board to keep you motivated about your future.
– Do a lot of self-care and pampering. This is a great time for rejuvenation and replenishing.
– Take breaks from social media and comparing yourself to others.
– Go to a retreat or a place to recharge your batteries.
Are there any others you would add to this list?
Let me know in the comments below.
I hope these suggestions are helpful. As with every advice you may receive, first check with your primary care doctor and therapist before implementing any suggestions.
Keep your inner light shinning bright!
Nancy De Andrade, PhD