Some say its the cold weather. Others say its the shorter days. The holiday stress. Missing loved ones on those special days of the year. During what is supposed to be a joyful time of year, many Americans reach a mental low point as the holidays approach. Seasonal depression is very real and affects millions of people every year. By making just a few modifications to your lifestyle during this time, you can get through it.
Maybe it's evolution or the notion that you may have been a bear in a previous life, but people tend to stuff their face during the winter months as if they are about to go into hybernation. Here's some reality, you're not going to sleep till the flowers bloom again. If you actually can do that, I'll admit I'm a bit jealous. Anyway, let's talk diet for a second.
Fast food companies boost their sales during this time. This time of year people gravitate towards high carb comfort foods to cope. The same thing goes with convinience foods like chips, cookies and ice cream. Ironically, there is also an obvious link between consuming fast food and depression. If you are active and eating healthy, you should be trying to keep your carb intake low anyway. Stay the course with getting high protein, moderate fat and low carb. Another way to help your depression is eat fish that are rich in EPA and omega-3s like salmon, tuna and herring.
My last blog talked about how important it is to not blow off the gym till January and get working out right away. This also helps with battling seasonal depression. Anyone who is prone to having mood problems, inactivity can really bring them down. Get a sweat going, and you will feel better. Even if you don't feel like doing it, just start moving. The gym is the best therapy!
Lastly, the light is a tremendous factor on Seasonal Depression. Leave your shades open in your house (after you've gotten dressed LOL). Don't wear sunglasses. If the sun is shining, dress appropriately and get your ass outside. The sun will naturally increase your vitamin D and lower melatonin levels during the day.
Frank Francis is a personal trainer and small group fitness instructor at
Fitness Together North Andover located at 73 Main Street North