Winter Blues – How the Seasons Affect Your Mind & Body
1984 was a banner year for Norman E. Rosenthal—a scientist who discovered the profound effects that the ever-changing seasons, particularly cold weather, had on our minds and bodies. Named Seasonal Affective Disorder, this onset of fatigue is gaining recognition as a real and tiresome disorder, causing many to lose their drive to do anything during the winter months.
Also dubbed seasonal depression, this disorder wreaks havoc on your stress levels, sending them soaring and then plummeting rapidly over and over again. This constant up-and-down of stress causes your mind and body to go into depression mode by making you feel sad, mopey, extremely exhausted, and generally blah about everything. You have trouble getting out of bed, you want to sleep constantly, and you munch on go-to comfort foods all of the time in an attempt to rejuvenate your body—but it doesn’t work.
Scientists and doctors are trying to find a way to combat Seasonal Effective Disorder, but so far, they simply have a list of could-be causes. For example, a lack of sunshine and Vitamin D makes your depression, fatigue, and stress levels skyrocket over time—and there is hardly a plentiful supply of these important elements when the weather is so cold that you dare not venture outside.
After extensive research, and first-hand experiences all around, we have compiled a list of simple ways that you can avoid this order, and get back on the path to a happier life in both mind and body.
Add Anti-Stress Foods to Your Everyday Diet
Food is an important part of keeping your mind and body healthy, especially when cold weather sets in. You should strive for vitamin-packed, nutrient-rich ‘brain foods’—also known as anti-stress foods—in diverse, plentiful portions.
Nutrient-wise, Serotonin is an essential hormone responsible for maintaining a good mood and positive attitude. Serotonin is derived from Tryptophan, one of the 22 standard amino acids that you should consume on a regular basis to keep your mind and body running at full capacity.
The below anti-stress foods are extremely rich in Tryptophan, resulting in a positive boost of Serotonin about half an hour after you eat them. Of course, you should eat these in moderation to fit your daily allotment of calories.
– Fish (especially Cod)
– Brown Rice
– Sunflower Seeds
Always Remember to Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Numerous studies over the last few years have found that breakfast simply isn’t as important to most people as it once was. Some are too tired to eat anything, others are too busy, and a few simply forget breakfast altogether in favor of a big lunch.
Listen up! Breakfast is STILL the most important meal of the day because it is what gets your body going. It gives your system an energy shove, awakening your nerves and clearing your mind of the drowsiness that sleep can leave behind. As a matter of fact, recent research suggests that those who eat breakfast every single day, without fail, are more stress-resistant and less likely to feel the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
We understand that you may be shaking your head in protest. You may even be saying that the thought of food after you wake up makes you sick. In that case, soothe your stomach first with a warm glass of water. This gets your tummy used to the idea of eating, and it relaxes your entire body.
Breakfast should account for 20-25% of your daily calories. So, for example, someone eating around 1500 calories per day would strive for a breakfast of 300 to 375 calories. This powers up the brain, as well as the body, ensuring your mental, emotional, and physical systems run smoothly all day long.
While 3 square meals a day are fine, doctors recommend splitting your food into 4-5 portions per day with no more than 4 hours between each meal.
Overcome the Biggest Myths
Myth #1 – You can shed weight by skipping breakfast.
This myth does way more harm than good! Studies have proven that those who go without breakfast are actually more prone to weight gain. These people skip breakfast and are so hungry when they do get to eat that they overeat.
You can actually shed more weight or maintain a healthy weight on a balanced diet of good, healthy foods, beginning for breakfast.
Myth #2 – You should drink less water during winter.
Where did this myth come from? Because it is absolutely NOT TRUE at all. Your body is comprised of mostly water—it keeps the mechanisms within your skin and brain running smoothly. You NEED hydration at all times, roughly 1.5-2 liters per day. A mere 1% decrease in hydration levels lowers your brain activities and efficiency by 10%–a huge difference. When your hydration levels are brought down by 4%, you will feel major fatigue.
The bottom line – drink at least 8 cups of water per day, but really strive for more to combat the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Pamper Your Skin
Your skin is the second most important part of YOU, and your brain is the first. Take care of your skin, make yourself feel good on the outside, and Serotonin levels will soar mentally to boost your feel-good levels on the inside.
Here are a few Alyaka suggestions to get you headed in the right direction –
Dr. Jackson’s – 04 Organic Coconut Melt
Perfect for anywhere, everywhere moisture, Dr. Jackson’s 04 Organic Coconut Melt is a replenishing, nourishing combination of essential coconut oils. The cream melts upon contact with your skin, forming a sleek, smooth serum that glides on to rejuvenate and refresh skin cells.
Through gentle exfoliation and optimum absorption, this product regenerates and restores softness to your skin, giving you a new glow and strength that outlasts the chill of winter.
Earth Tu Face – Skin Stick
Nourishing on every level—the Skin Stick from Earth Tu Face packs a powerful wallop of nutrients, vitamins, and essential minerals into one convenient, easy-to-carry tube. Dubbed an all-purpose salve, this stick of handcrafted, pure beeswax is infused with organic oils, locking in moisture that releases upon contact with your skin cells.
Working together, the ingredients within the Skin Stick combat the effects of winter by restoring smoothness, softness, and natural beauty to your skin. You can take it with you anywhere, and it is perfect for everything, anytime.
May Lindstrom – The Blue Cocoon Beauty Balm
Waking up to the feeling of constant exhaustion is THE worst—and that is something that the May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon Beauty Balm strives to combat. Vivacious, lightweight, and beautifying, this balm is bright-blue in an initial texture that rubs on clear.
Simply wash away the grime of the day with lukewarm water and soap, then apply a pea-sized portion of the balm to any area of your face or body. This is best done at bedtime for optimum absorption while you sleep, and it gives your skin cells a boost of essential vitamins and nutrients to keep skin looking and feeling wonderful.