This time of the year I constantly hear people saying they suffer from SAD, mmmm, I always think, so what is SAD?
Its proper name is Seasonal Affective Disorder.
The winter months are dull, dark, wet, miserable and because of the lack of light we see, or receive our body clocks are dramatically affected. These are the daily cycles that regulate our moods, sleep, appetite, digestion, and energy. When light enters our eyes it stimulates nerve impulses, if less light enters or there is a fault, the nerve activity is affected and also the functions it controls. Similar to a car running out of fuel.
A body clock that isn't receiving the right light signals produces more of the hormone melatonin which leaves you feeling tired and sluggish and probably grumpy. When the body clock receives the right light signals it produces more energetic hormones like serotonin. These help you sleep better and feel good during the day. Woohoo.
SAD affects all the countries close to the polar ice cap like the UK where we have long nights and short days and a pretty poor climate. The only cure is to live at least within 30 degrees of the equator, which would be nice but unfortunately not possible for everyone.
Taking control of your lifestyle and diet can make a difference so try the following -
- try to find time everyday to get outside
- sit near windows when you are inside
- eat a well balanced diet
- decorate your home in light colours
- leave all major projects until summer and plan ahead activities for the winter
- try not or don't put yourself under stress
Sort out your diet with these tips -
- eat smart carbs for a calming effect eg. fruit, veg, whole grains, oats and beans.
- eat protein rich foods to boost alertness eg. beans, lentils, beef, fish, poultry, low fat cheese and milk
- include omega 3 fatty acids at least 3 times a week eg. salmon, mackerel, sardines, flaxseeds and walnuts
- eat foods rich in B vitamins eg. eggs, whole grains, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, beetroot and lentils
So there you have it, plain and simple. Eat a sensible balanced diet, sort out your lifestyle and stop chasing yourself. Take time to enjoy yourself and of course take up a fitness challenge.