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Daniela DeFeo is a certified health coach, published author, lifestyle/fitness model and wellness brand ambassador. She encourages a holistic approach to wellness by advocating the importance of health, fitness, nutrition, self-care and sustainable living.
4 Ways To Naturally Boost Your Mood
With the clocks turned back and seasons changing, Seasonal Affective Disorder could be the culprit dimming the lights on your mood.
Why So S.A.D.?
If you’re lacking energy, feeling unmotivated, trouble sleeping or have an increased appetite for comfort foods like sweets and carbs, then you may be experiencing symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. A term often used to describe depression associated with a change in seasonal patterns, it primarily occurs in the autumn and winter months. With a disruption of the "circadian rhythm" (the body's natural cycle of sleeping and waking) due to the decrease in daily sunlight, this can play a role in the brain’s production of two vital hormones - melatonin and serotonin.
During the colder months, the body produces more melatonin which encourages sleep, feeling more lethargic and fatigued. Conversely, it suppresses the production of serotonin - your body’s happy hormone, which boosts mood and wards off depression. So, what can you do to curb the winter blues and bounce back into action?
Here are 4 ways to naturally boost your mood:
Maintain a healthy diet by consuming nutrient-dense foods, such as lean protein, whole grains and fruits and vegetables. Additionally, Omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to have a positive effect on brain function by its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties. Limit processed, sugar-dense foods, as this can cause energy levels to rise and fall, creating a montage of mood shifts.
What better way to fight off the blues than stimulating those mood-enhancing endorphins! Exercise, whether it's strength training or cardio is one of the best ways to get an ample supply of it. For a double dose of happy, head outdoors and break a sweat under the blue sky while getting some natural light.
Enjoying the fresh air, sights and sounds of nature can have a revitalizing effect on the mind. Eco-therapy is thought to positively affect the brain chemicals linked to mood, easing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Consider taking a Vitamin D supplement during the Fall/Winter months. With a reduction in sunlight hours during the latter part of the year, it’s important to achieve your daily recommendation of Vitamin D, even if the sun isn’t shining. A recent study suggests a link between Vitamin D and S.A.D, as it may help to manage symptoms of mental health, which could include a lack of motivation, changes in sleep patterns and increased irritability.
Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms can vary from person to person; some may experience heightened sensitives affecting daily life, while others have less climatic signs. By being cognizant of this particular time of year, how your body responds to it and taking actionable steps to help prevent the onset of symptoms, may help to amp-up your energy levels, in spite of what’s happening outside your window.References: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286496#A-link-between-vitamin-... https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908269/ https://www.healthline.com/health/food-tips-help-ease-winter-blues https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sour-mood-getting-you-down-... https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004726/ https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/seasonal-affective-disorder... https://www.healthline.com/health/seasonal-affective-disorder https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/10306