Beating Back the Winter Blahs

winter wonderland121413This time of year, when the sun isn’t out as much and it is often gray and rainy/snowy, many people have more trouble with feeling very sad, low on energy, even depressed. This can  happen when our bodies and brains don’t cope well with the lower levels of light. Our brains produce a chemical that responds to darkness and light called melatonin. This chemical helps our body know when it’s time to shut down for the day and go to sleep. Normally, at the end of the day, when it begins to get dark, our body begins to release serotonin, which triggers the production of more melatonin and we get sleepy. In the mornings, when our brains register that there is sunlight again, the levels of  serotonin and melatonin drop and we become more alert and wake up, ready to start our day. These chemicals rely on the nutrients we bring into our bodies to be made properly and in sufficient amounts and they rely on sunlight (and other cues) to trigger their release. We can help our bodies and brains by adjusting how we cope with life during the Fall and Winter months, especially if we have difficulty with seasonal depression, sometimes called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

-Get as much light as possible and self regulate your light exposure. Open your blinds first thing every morning and close them in the evening. Go outside for a few minutes each day. Use Blues Buster bulb in the room your work in or use a full spectrum UV lamp for a few minutes each day. Don’t be afraid to turn on the lights in your home during the day! Spend the money! This is your health we are talking about!
-Take warm sea salt or Epsom salt baths frequently, even daily. They are very detoxifying and they just feel good. Add Lavender essential oil, if you like.
-Stay on a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at about the same time each day. This helps the melatonin in your brain become level and balanced and stay that way.
-Eat healthy. Low sugar, low starch. Lots of vegetables, especially those that are in season. Make sure to include plenty of foods that are rich easily accessible omega-3 fatty acids, as these support brain function and overall health. These are things like salmon, sardines, or eggs. Foods high in tryptophan, such as cottage cheese, avocados, bananas, walnuts and turkey are also good as they support the production of serotonin and melatonin. Make occasional DARK chocolate your now and then sugar treat, as it fights depression.
-Use Rescue Remedy to help lift your spirits and ease extra pains. It is homeopathic and non habit forming. It will help balance your entire system, not just relieve your symptoms. It can be taken as often as every 15-30 minutes on very difficult days.
-Get at least 5-10 minutes of exercise every day. Do something you enjoy! Dance or play with the kids or the dog/cat, whatever you like. No need to make it a chore, simply move your lovely body in some way and stretch it, shake it, feel it, enjoy it!
-Keep flowers in your home. Even one or two flowers in a vase helps. They add a wonderful energy, not to mention how beautiful they look and smell. I’ve found that my local grocery store sells small bouquets for $3-$5. Totally worth it.  Flowers and plants boost spirits. You’re worth it.
-Reiki or other energy work can help keep your energy moving or relieve energy blockages. If you know you have this problem each year, consider making a regular appointment each month during the Fall and Winter months to help support your well being. If you are having difficulties or begin to, a Reiki session can help restore calm and peace of mind, body and spirit.

-Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you are experiencing a sadness that doesn’t lift. Counseling or medication may be helpful in getting your system back on track and helping you feel better again.

Here’s a couple recipes to help support you when your energy is low, but you have cravings. They are healthy, easy and satisfying.

Quick Green Smoothie

1 cup of milk of choice

4 Tablespoons yogurt

2 leaves any type green (kale, collard, mustard, turnip–your favorite)

handful raspberries, handful blueberries

teaspoon raw honey

teaspoon spirulina

1 inch peeled fresh ginger

Add all ingredients to food processor or blender and run for about a minute on high, until smooth.

Cacao (Dark Chocolate) Sauce

All measurements are estimates–adjust for amount and consistency you wish to make

1/4 cup coconut oil (butter can be substituted)

2-3 Tablespoons raw cacao powder (much higher health benefits than cocoa powder)

2-3 Tablespoons raw honey

dash of sea salt or Himalayan salt

Heat in small saucepan over low heat while stirring. Once coconut oil is melted and all is stirred together, add a small drizzle of milk at a time until you have the consistency you would like for a sauce. A splash of vanilla is nice to add. You can also stir in shredded coconut or walnuts. If you leave out the milk and spread this over a sheet of  parchment paper on a cookie sheet  and then refrigerate it for several hours, it makes a nice candy.

If I can help support you with a Reiki session, feel free to contact me at  www.facebook.com/HolisticSpirituality.

Be well and Blessings,
Angie

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