Joy,  Lifestyle,  nutrition,  Wellness

How to improve your mood: It’s that SAD time of year

My mood wavers between boredom and blah. February. While I can’t quite put my finger on my funk, I am aware of this seasonal trap. The Pontificator of all pontificators, Punxsutawney Phil, didn’t see his shadow on Saturday! Dare we speak his prediction aloud and plan for an early spring? Although my calendar is full and my life is anything but boring, but I feel like I am trapped in my own Groundhog Day. Here are a few tips and tricks to improve your mood.

But first…

What is Season Affective Disorder?

In an article from the Mayo Clinic, “Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.

Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (phototherapy), medications and psychotherapy.

Don’t brush off that yearly feeling as fortified a case of the “winter blues” or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.”

Read the full article here.

Now What Color Girl?

Well, I’m glad you asked. Most of us will not receive a diagnosis of SAD, but we still feel the effects of the seasonal shift. The primary factor in our mood is the availability of the full spectrum light from the sun.

Without the healing rays of sunshine and this light therapy, we sink into a dis-ease in our surroundings and everyday life. Try these suggestions and watch your mood improve.

You are what you eat, or more importantly what you absorb

Your most significant factor of wellbeing comes from the food you eat. I know it is so tempting to eat your favorite comfort foods and snack in front of the television during a Netflix binge, but what feels nurturing at the moment will wreak havoc on your system in the short term and long term.

Now more than ever, it is essential to turn to the full spectrum healing power of colorful fruits and vegetables. Our food gets its glorious color from the sun. 

If you can’t soak in the sun, eat what soaked in the sun! Go for organic whenever possible and look for non-GMO.

Soak in the sun!

Oh, to be on the west coast or southern states this time of year. Our bodies need an ample supply of vitamin D, especially D3 year round, but vitally so in the winter months. Our body does not produce vitamin D. 

You can eat vitamin D enriched dairy if dairy is your thing, or try eating more wild caught salmon. I also take a vitamin D3 supplement. A vitamin D deficiency is linked to many chronic disorders, including depression. Check with your doctor to run your vitamin D level. 

On those few and far between days of sunshine, take a walk outside, stand in the sun and close your eyes. Let the warmth of the sun soak into your skin. Even ten minutes of this light therapy will improve your mood and outlook!

Also, read this article on the many benefits of “the sunshine vitamin.”

Ok, Soak in the SUN!

Oh, to be on the west coast or southern states this time of year. Our bodies need an ample supply of vitamin D, especially D3 year round, but vitally so in the winter months. Our body does not produce vitamin D. 

You can eat vitamin D enriched dairy if dairy is your thing, or try eating more wild caught salmon. I also take a vitamin D3 supplement. A vitamin D deficiency is linked to many chronic disorders, including depression. Check with your doctor to run your vitamin D level. 

On those few and far between days of sunshine, take a walk outside, stand in the sun and close your eyes. Let the warmth of the sun soak into your skin. Even ten minutes of this light therapy will improve your mood and outlook!

Also, read this article on the many benefits of “the sunshine vitamin.”

Eliminate sugar and flour from your diet

And now I’ve lost you. I get it. It’s the fun part of your day, but these two ingredients alone aid in depression and negatively alter your mood. They cause inflammation in your gut, and inflammation in your brain which can trigger depression. Not to mention they pack on those dreaded winter pounds.

It’s time to do a reset. Since I’ve already blown my New Year’s Resolution of eating God food strictly verses man food, I feel I have two options at this point: Stay in my stupor of a sugar and flour coma, or push the restart button. I choose the latter!

Will you recommit with me?

Incorporate more color into your life!

I thought the idea of color therapy was a little woo-woo until I started researching the benefits of color in our food, our clothing, aromatherapy, and color visualization. Color is a frequency that passes through the air as energy and vibration. 

We understand radio waves, microwaves, gamma rays, cell phone signals, and nuclear energy all operate on a frequency even though we can’t see it. Our eyes can only pick up the full spectrum of light in the form of colors. 

Each color in the ROYGBIV spectrum operates on a different frequency. Red, orange, and yellow are a slower, more penetrating frequency, and also happen to be considered warm colors.

Eat these colors in your produce, wear these colors in your clothing, and do color meditation as a form of relaxing your body and mind. I will teach you how to color meditate in next weeks blog, so be on the lookout. Diffuse citrus oils to lift your mood in the home.

Buy a fresh bouquet of bright flowers every week!

Do things that bring you joy!

While this may sound like I’m stating the obvious, it amazes me how many people stay in their rut or funk because they don’t feel like making a change. This is where I will lovingly say, “Fake it til you feel it!”

When you are feeling glum, force yourself to get out of the house and meet a friend for lunch. Add your favorite songs to a new playlist. You can elevate your mood by taking action in your life. The more I focus on my sadness or unsettled mental state, the easier it is to stay.

I don’t want to go anywhere, I want to close myself in my house and watch TV, I want to eat all the wrong foods, but I force a shift. Even a micro shift toward change can add up to a massive shift over time.

Try some of these mood lifters!

  1. Start a new Bible devotional.
  2. Pick up a new hobby like dancing, art, calligraphy, or writing.
  3. Plan a three-day weekend getaway.
  4. Try one new recipe a week.
  5. Schedule a date night with your spouse.
  6. Purge your closet or cluttered space in your home and relish in the organization.
  7. Buy a sweater or jacket in a new color you’ve wanted to try.
  8. Take your dog to a new park.
  9. Exercise daily.
  10. Meditate each morning
  11. Get plenty of sleep each night.

To end this post on a bright note, decide today which things from this list you will incorporate into your weekly routine to improve your mood. Please let me know in the comments below what you do to shift your mood!

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