4 Ways to keep the autumn blues at bay
BY Melissa Day
31st Oct 2023 Health
2 min read
The autumn blues, or SAD, can be hard to cope with. Here are four ways to keep the autumn blues away
As the nights draw in, you may be feeling the onset of the autumn blues—aka Seasonal Affective Disorder. Symptoms include low mood, fatigue, insomnia and a range of other depressive symptoms.
Here Melissa Day, acupuncturist at Niroshini 360 offers four tips on how to keep the autumn blues at bay.
1. Eat healthy to beat SAD
It is highly recommended to consume locally grown and seasonal foods, in order to provide the body with the necessary nutrition, for the specific time of year. It is imperative to select minimally processed and fresh foods to ensure that their vitamins and minerals remain intact.
"Select minimally processed and fresh foods to ensure that their vitamins and minerals remain intact"
During the autumn season, it is advisable to increase the intake of Vitamin A, by selecting orange and yellow foods such as carrots, butternut squash and pumpkin. These will help to protect the nervous system, boost your immune system and help build strong bones.
Don’t disrupt blood sugar regulation which can affect mood—opt for complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, beans, lentils and vegetables. Fermented foods are also highly recommended, as they aid in serotonin production in the gut which is essential for overall health. Medicinal mushrooms such as Coriolus and Lions Mane are known to support cognitive function, while Alpha Lipoic Acid is a natural mood enhancer.
2. Ensure your Vitamin D levels are optimal
Vitamin D is an exceptional mood stabiliser. It’s arguably the most crucial nutrient to maintain optimal levels of in the body all year round, in order to facilitate the production of effective hormones. It plays a pivotal role in the activation of DNA for protein synthesis, across all cell types.
"Vitamin D plays a pivotal role in the activation of DNA for protein synthesis, across all cell types"
An NHS laboratory offers a "blood-spot test", that can be obtained through the post to assess one's vitamin D levels. It is important to note that the laboratory does not provide interpretation of the test results or recommend any subsequent actions and additional guidance would be necessary to respond appropriately to the findings. One of the most efficacious methods to enhance the circadian rhythm and promote restful sleep, is through 20 minutes of exposure to morning sunlight.
3. Physical movement can help to combat depression
Engaging in physical activity triggers the release of endorphins and serotonin in the brain which are known to enhance one's mood. As we transition into autumn, the yin season, practicing Yin Yoga can be particularly beneficial for individuals, experiencing SAD.
Yin Yoga is the feminine moon-side of yoga. It encourages a calm nervous system, being grounded and simply “being”. During the yin season, it is important to cultivate patience and connect with our intuitive selves, following what nature is reflecting back to us.
"Yin Yoga is an introspective practice that may help alleviate depression"
Yin Yoga is an introspective practice that may help alleviate depression, by promoting the flow of stagnant energy through mindful gentle stretching. People that suffer with depression are tightly coiled and therefore stagnant in energy, and Yin Yoga promotes the flow of energy once again. It is a practice that fosters alertness without inducing lethargy.
4. Acupuncture can help you manage SAD
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perceives disease as an imbalance between Yin and Yang. Acupuncture therapy aims to restore equilibrium and enhance the body's natural healing abilities. TCM offers a comprehensive approach to treating depression by identifying root causes and addressing energetic imbalances.
Acupuncture has demonstrated effective in treating pain, hormonal, immunological, neurological disorders and depression by harmonising energy and strengthening organ systems. In TCM, the Kidney system is nourished by the sun. Our Yin seasonal cycles lack sunlight, leading to Kidney stagnation, dampness, coldness and depression. Stagnant Liver Qi can result in frustration and depression.
Banner credit: Happy man (evgenyatamanenko)
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