As the days start to get shorter and our daily natural dose of Vitamin D evidently starts to drop, some of us start to feel the chill of the darkness a little more than others. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is related to changes of the season.
Since our daily exposure to the sun is wavering, I'd like to share some happy tips and tools with you, use them to help keep your serotonin (feel good neurotransmitter) levels up naturally. These tips will help boost your mood, and encourage a healthy, happy you.
TIPS TO SUPPORT A HAPPY BRAIN
- Start your day with a positive thought.
- Simply taking a minute to write down three things you are grateful for daily has the power to set the right kind of mindset for your day and set you off on the right foot. It could be a big thing, it could be a little thing. Either way, let that gratefulness sit with your for a second. Count those blessings!
- Get your healthy fats in!
- Our brains are largely made up of fat, and we need to feed it the right kinds of fat to help keep it healthy! Omega 3 deficiency is correlated to mood imbalances such as depression. Omega 3's are found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines or in foods like walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, hemps seeds, flax seeds, olives or any of the unrefined, cold pressed oils from these foods. Ensure you incorporate these healthful foods into your diet regularly. Not only do omega 3's feed your brain, they also help keep your skin and hair looking fabulous, a happy bonus.
- Eat Selenium rich food sources
- Selenium is a mineral and antioxidant that when deficient, studies have linked to poorer moods. Food sources of selenium are whole grains like brown rice or oatmeal, fish, shellfish, other meats like chicken, turkey and beef, as well as nuts and seeds. A brazil nut a day can help keep the bad moods at bay.
- Take a probiotic supplement
- You have a second nervous system in your intestines that actually has more neurons in it making serotonin than your brain does. You also have over 3 pounds of micro-organisms living in your intestines, some are friendly, some aren't. The key is to make sure you are keeping this flora of bacteria as friendly as possible, because when they are friendly- you'll digest things better, which means you'll absorb things better, which will nourish you better and lead to all sorts of great things. I recommend investing in a good probiotic supplement, not only will this be an amazing support to your digestive and immune health, but also to the health of your second nervous system.
- Exercise regularly
- Nobody ever regrets a good workout. I am always amazed at how even a little workout has the ability to influence my whole outlook on things for the better. Exercising is one of the best ways to immediately boost your serotonin levels, you'll notice the effect instantly.
- Supplement some vitamin D
- Supplementing this vitamin makes a huge difference for those suffering from SAD, and is completely necessary for anyone living in Canada. Vitamin D is so important for our immune health, bone health, cancer protection and more. We simply cannot get enough through sunlight in the Canadian winters and I would recommend supplementing with a high quality vitamin D at a dose of around 2000 IU's per day.
- Work on managing your stress.
- Take deep breaths, set goals, celebrate small successes, do yoga, walk the dog- do whatever works for you to help you manage your stress levels. High levels of stress hormones over an extended period of time is a sure shot way to knock your hormones out of sync, throw your body off balance and pay the price with your emotional well-being. Book a session with me if you need help in this department, I can help you re-build your adrenals, teach you how to reduce and manage your stressors, and re-balance your hormones.
- Get to bed a bit earlier
- Our sleep cycles are intwined with our hormones, staying up too late increases the stress hormone, cortisol, at a time when it should be decreasing. This gives us a second wind and will hinder the quality of sleep. Sleep is vital to repair and restoration- too little of this and our brains are not going to be happy. Dim your lights in the evening, wind down a bit before bed-no cell phone, no computer, no TV, just some nice quality YOU time. Clear your mind. Meditate. Get cozy. Drink a cup of herbal tea made from flowers (recipe below).
Try incorporating all of these points into your routine. Along with a healthy diet, they will help support a happy harmonious balance of your brain and body.
Bed Time Blend: A Flower Tea Recipe
Floral teas are uplifting and soothing. They taste nice and smell even better, perfect for a little bit of r&r before bed.
What you need:
- 1/2 tsp dried chamomile
- 1/3 tsp dried lavender
- 1/3 tsp dried rosehips
- 2 cups boiling water
- your favourite mug