How about that weather? No, I’m not trying to make small talk. You may have noticed the weather has been fluctuating during the seasonal change, and that can seriously affect the way you feel. There is a name for what you may be feeling – seasonal affective disorder. SAD is distinguished by annual depressions that arise around the same time each year.1 SAD can cause you to feel unmotivated, depressed and can cause you to lose sleep.
Don’t worry; this post isn’t all bad news. There is hope for combatting the mentioned effects of SAD and it’s simpler than you may think! Here are a few simple tips to limiting the effects of SAD.
- Awareness. Become aware of the occurrence so you can prepare for it. Keeping a journal is an excellent way to track your mood and how it may be affected by the seasons and/or any other external variable(s).
- Nutrition. Yes, you guessed it – Eat a well-balanced diet with high quantities of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy proteins. Check out my previous post on how your nutrition may be impacting your mood more than you might think.
- Breath. Exercise regularly and practice efficient breathing patterns. What? Practice breathing? Yes, that is what I said. We take an average of over 20,000 breaths per day. How long can you survive without food? How long can you survive without water? Pending factors such as environmental conditions, body composition, energy expenditure, genetics, etc., maybe a few days to a few weeks. How long can you survive without taking a breath?… Exactly. Much less than a few days to a few weeks. Unless you’re David Blaine. Which, most of us are not; then, this applies to you. In my opinion, respiration is one of the most overlooked facets of physical and mental health. Crocodile breathing and supine 90/90 breathing are excellent exercises to begin re-learning efficient breathing patterns.
Becoming in-tune with your mind and body is one of the best things you will ever do for yourself. Understanding how your body is influenced by variables you may have never thought to be impactful can pay huge dividends in the short term and the long term. Thanks for reading! Leave your questions and comments below!
- Rosenthal NE, Sack DA, Gillin JC, Lewy AJ, Goodwin FK, Davenport Y, Mueller PS, Newsome DA, Wehr TA. Seasonal Affective DisorderA Description of the Syndrome and Preliminary Findings With Light Therapy. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1984;41(1):72-80. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1984.01790120076010