By Stephen Eddey, Nutritionist, Naturopath and Principal of Health Schools Australia
It’s that time of year again, when many of us simply want to don our favourite woolly socks, curl up under the blanket, order take in and declare a new decree – ‘thou shalt not have to go outside unless the sun is shining!’
Even researchers agree that our moods and emotions can vary depending on changes in season and how much light or sun exposure we receive. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), otherwise known as the winter blues.
If you’re someone who’s already worried about the temperature dropping and shorter and darker days, read on. There are ways to stay happy, healthy and inspired over winter. Stephen Eddey, Nutritionist, Naturopath and Principal of Health Schools Australia, provides us with 5 Easy Ways to Beat the Winter Blues.
- Eat A Healthy Diet
What you eat can have an immense impact on your mood, energy levels and overall wellbeing. This winter, try and base your diet on plenty of wholefoods and natural ingredients including vegetables, whole grains, fruit and protein and avoid refined or highly processed food, like biscuits, chips and even pre-packaged muesli bars. Although these snacks may seem cheaper and more convenient at the time, they’re often full of sugar and low in nutrients and can lead to unstable blood sugar levels, mood swings and a lack of sustenance to see you through the day. Save your body the effort of trying to process preservatives and chemicals and enjoy a brighter mood and longer lasting energy by choosing the healthier foods options this winter.
- Load up on Antioxidants
Consuming foods rich in antioxidants helps to support a strong immune system which may prevent the feeling of being worn out. Opting for a diet rich in nutrients and colour containing antioxidants may help to reduce free radical activity which can cause oxidative stress. Ubiquinol is a powerful antioxidant found naturally in our bodies which helps power the body’s cells including the heart, liver and supporting overall energy, but as we age or put our bodies under a significant amount of stress, our Ubiquinol levels can decline. To achieve the minimum recommended amount of Ubiquinol in a day, you would need to eat 3.4kg of red meat, 5.7kg of chicken or 50 cups of spinach! You may want to consult your healthcare professional for ways to boost your energy throughout the cooler months.
- Get Enough Sleep
When the days get shorter and there’s a lack of light and sunshine around it’s natural to crave more rest and sleep. Listen to your body and try and make sure you get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. This will allow your body to recharge so you feel rejuvenated the next day and don’t wake up in a winter fog searching for the snooze button. If you feel like you might need an afternoon nap as well, ask your boss if you can curl up under your desk for ten minutes. Short naps can give you a fresh burst of energy, improve your mood and help with your concentration levels and overall motivation for the rest of the day
- Stay Active
Doing something physical, whether it’s a morning walk, a spin class after work or a gentle yoga session over the weekend is sure to not only warm you up by getting your blood pumping, but even a short bout of exercise will increase your endorphin levels, like serotonin, and leave you feeling more positive, refreshed and energised. If you’re time poor, stay active by getting off the bus a stop early, choosing the stairs over the lift and making sure you stand up out of your chair at work to regularly stretch out your legs.
- Be Social
They say that laughter can be the best medicine sometimes and there might be not be any better time than winter to heed that advice. Even when it’s cold and raining outside, try not to choose the couch over catching up with friends and family. Human interaction and socialising with your nearest and dearest also boosts your endorphin levels and will leave you feeling happier and more positive.
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Consult your healthcare practitioner on strategies for your health.
About Stephen Eddey
Stephen Eddey is a qualified Nutritionist and Naturopath and is the Principal of Australia’s longest established natural medicine college, Health Schools Australia. He has completed a Bachelor of Complementary Medicine as well as a Masters in Health Science.