Seasonal Affective Disorder or Seasonal depression is real, but there are ways you can take charge of your autumn.
For many, autumn is a transition from vacation time of beach, pool, and working on their tan, to the recliner and the TV; it is a shift from outdoors to indoors, from swim suits to sweaters. In the animal world, it is the beginning of hibernation as the animal stores up fat, sleeps more, and is physically inactive until spring.
With the demise of summer, the days grow shorter and colder, with less sun and more darkness. Up to 20% of the population suffers an actual clinical condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder which can cause depression. However, the majority of us just find that getting home when it’s already dark causes low mood and lack of motivation. Interestingly, the average person consumes 200 more calories per day in the fall and winter, mostly in the form of carbohydrates which the body stores as fat. It’s a kind of mini-hibernation, often marked by physical-activity-avoidance and weight gain.
Savor the season by embracing the beautiful changes in nature. Supplement your diet with melatonin and vitamin D3 to increase the level of the feel-good hormone Serotonin. If you live where it gets dark and cold early, you can use a light box that simulates some of the sun’s UV spectrum, fooling your body into thinking it’s still summer. It’s a great time of year to take a short vacation or cruise to where the sun shines brighter.
If you already have a regular exercise habit, don’t change a thing; keep the momentum going. It is tougher when you get home and it’s already dark because it just seems like the day is over. Little things can make a difference, so take the stairs, park farther from your destination, or take a power walk during your lunchtime. You can exercise during commercials while watching TV by doing some push-ups, sit-ups, a plank, or bouncing on a rebounder. Change your activities: try something different, join a gym, get a BFF (Best Fitness Friend) to motivate you.
The body is approximately 75% water. We’re like a bucket that leaks, constantly losing moisture through sweat, elimination, and just breathing. Interestingly, thirst is often confused for hunger, so try a glass or two of water, instead of snacking between meals. One of the most effective ways to supercharge your nutrient immune system is with a blender. When eating solid food you are only able to assimilate 30-35% of the nutrients, whereas if you blend the same food, you are able to assimilate over 90% of the nutrients. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, probiotics, garlic, oil of oregano, olive leaf extract, and protein will all strengthen the body’s defenses.
Try some of these healthy habits, and you’ll fall in love with fall.