Hello SOTGC community,
Are you anxious or sad this holiday season? Holidays are designed to elicit joy, love, and laughter, but the reality is, some of us experience the holiday blues. A variety of reasons triggering the blues include earlier sunsets reducing daylight exposure, seasonal affective disorder, life reflections, stressful holiday consumerism, and social isolation. Here are some health tips that can support you through the winter holiday blues.
I’ll focus on Vitamin D, Fish Oil, Magnesium, and B vitamins. Those of us who live in sunny climates may still be Vitamin D deficient, and a supplement may be helpful for individuals with low levels. Fish oil, made up of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, possesses many benefits, but specifically, the DHA component of fish oil can support cognition and mood. Many of us are deficient in magnesium and adequate intake through diet and supplements can improve relaxation. Magnesium may cause diarrhea, and those with a heart condition, kidney dysfunction or other chronic medical condition may require supervised use. Finally, B vitamins such as folate, B6, and B12, are helpful for boosting mood and energy. When taking supplements, check with your health care provider to determine the most appropriate dose for you.
Relaxation can come in many forms. For some, physical activity, yoga, or meditation serves as an effective measure to elicit calm. Herbal remedies can also support relaxation and some of my favorite choices include valerian, lavender, passionflower, lemon balm and chamomile. I like taking these herbs as a tea in the evening. They are also available as tinctures, or in pill form.
Eat a clean green diet.
Reducing the caffeine, alcohol, tobacco consumption, and limiting processed foods, artificial sweeteners and sugars, can often do wonders for our emotional states, cognition, and mood. Sticking to a plant based diet with colorful fruits and vegetables gives us the many benefits of the phyto-nutrients, which support the many cellular processes that support energy and brain function.
The 5L’s: Let go. Laugh. Love. Let light in. Lie down.
- Let go of any emotion or experience that no longer serves you. Giving these negative memories precious real estate in our minds creates an emotional burden that can precipitate mood sensitivity. Make a commitment to release this emotional weight from your consciousness, and you may feel lighter.
- Laughing can lift our moods. Try it. Rent a comedy, engage in laughter yoga, commune with friends who can bring out the laughter in you. Pay attention to how you feel afterward. Consider laughter a medicine. Give yourself a daily prescription.
- Love. A great mantra is “I Love myself. No matter what.” This is about embracing acceptance, and not allowing the external to affect the internal. You can’t control what happens around the holidays, but you can control how you relate to the situation. Love is also about intimacy and connection. Hugs and orgasms are two activities that assist in the release of oxytocin, sometimes known as the ‘feel-good hormone’. As with any activity involving human connection, making eye contact and remaining heart-centered is important for the energetic bond that supports the experience.
- Let light in. Go out and enjoy natural daylight to maintain healthy circadian rhythms. If this is not possible, consider investing in a light therapy box, an indoor lighting device that may improve seasonal affective disorder.
- Lie down. Getting an adequate amount of sound sleep is extremely beneficial. This is sometimes easier said than done. Sleep deprivation can affect mood states and cause fluctuations in our emotional sensitivity. Set an intention to give your body 8 full restful hours.
Photo credit: mxdwell.com