Last week we gained an extra hour of sleep and with it came shorter days, which seem to end at 5pm. This time of the year is when a number of people begin to feel the effects of seasonal affective disorder. What is that you ask? SAD sufferers experience several different symptoms, including, but certainly not limited to: sleep problems and general fatigue, loss of libido, eating all the carbs, eating all the food in general, weight gain and the common emotional experience of depression.

The reality is that although this change is manageable for some, it can be a lot to handle for others. Fortunately, there are several ways we can naturally combat these symptoms. Here are our top tips:

Healthy eating:

Craving starchy, carb-rich foods is one of the most common signs of SAD. However, it’s also something many of us crave this time of year, with the cold weather, darker evenings and the arrival of Thanksgivings and Christmas celebrations. It can often be hard to curb that craving, but it’s important that we focus on achieving this.

Eating more will ultimately impact your state of mind, physicality, and nutrition negatively in most cases. We advocate for the keto diet, which allows for an average of 20 grams of carbs a day. Ensure your diet is ripe with lean proteins, leafy greens, and fish, as this will keep your body in check and comes bundled with the additional benefit of increasing serotonin.

Staying active:

OK, so staying active is important all year around, but it’s especially important during the cold winter months. There are a handful of ways to augment your routine to accommodate the cold, and it isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think. What matters most is consistency – identify ways to get your heartrate up in the cold and the snow, and commit to it.

Here’s an example: a 30-minute walk before work is a great way to ensure that you get your daily exercise in, and bundling well will help to encourage warmth and the all-important sweat. Plus, if you manage to time your routine with the rise of the sun, you’ll soak in some extra vitamin D. It’s the little things, right?

The ticket is to invest in some type of activity. Get your heart rate up, and give your body the boost it needs to release those ‘feel good’ chemicals that ease depression, and remedy brain fog. You’ll be glad you did.

Vitamins and Minerals:

It’s no secret that the body needs specific vitamins and minerals to operate at peak performance. What many don’t know is that these levels can drop during the fall and winter months as a natural change. Supplements are an important and practical way to boost vitamin D, and other vitamins or minerals that decline this time of year.

As the days grow darker and the temperature colder, depressive behaviours are more common. It’s a natural response, but it can be amplified by external factors. Managing this response is critical, and supplements like Omega 3 fatty acids are the ideal remedy, as they impact brain activity and calm receptors. Receptors that are associated with mood disorders and depression when working in overdrive. Noticing a pattern?

Consult with your doctor for insight on seasonal changes and how your body may be responding, specifically.

In conclusion:

The seasons play a bigger role in the daily life of everyone than many of us know. Yes, our to-dos change and our commute gets easier or harder, but our bodies and health are changing in ways that can be hard to communicate or even identify. It’s critical to our long-term health that we adapt our health regiment to the season, and Cornerstone is working hard to define the best routes in getting there.

Contact us for more info, and together we can chase away the winter blues.

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