As many of you are aware, the wonderful ball of light that blesses us with its presence is becoming less and less each passing day as we start to descend into the depths of the Alaska winter. This brings us shorter days and longer nights, not to mention colder weather that can leave all us in a gloomy funk! I can speak personally when I say the winter blues are a real deal. Then you add the stress of the holidays, all the festivities and obligations we all seem to get ourselves into that can drive our mental state half way crazy!
These “winter blues” are known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a type of depression that is associated with the changing of seasons. We Alaskans suffer from it a lot more than most other states because how much daylight we don’t have during our long winter months. One of the biggest factors that ALL of us deal with is a major lack of vitamin D, which can be associated with the onset of S.A.D. According to an article I read by a Dr. Dan Murphy called “What we have learned about Vitamin D Dosing”, over 50% of the HEALTHY North American population are vitamin D deficient. And that number rises to 80% for those who suffer from any kind of chronic disease! THEN, because our days get shorter, our bodies start producing more melatonin, which is the hormone that regulates our sleep patterns, making us lethargic and sleepy. No wonder our bodies want to turn into little hibernating bears during the winter!
Does anyone else wonder why during the winter season we always crave carbohydrates or comfort foods? And if any of you are like me, that is my kryptonite, my weakness. ALL OF THE CARBS!! I would probably give my give my right arm if I could live on breads, cookies, cakes. All of the goodness and have my pants still fit! S.A.D reduces your serotonin levels. Ingesting carbohydrates actually helps your body produce serotonin, which explains the constant need to eat every cookie you find! Or in my case, EVERY PASTA DISH KNOWN TO MAN!! Then you add the Vitamin D deficiency on top of that, which also plays a large role into the whole serotonin production… That ends up leaving us snuggled in footie pajamas, binge watching Netflix with a box of donuts.. or is just me??
BUT HEY, DON’T FRET!!! There are some natural ways that you can help support your body to produce serotonin and help fight off those pesky “winter blues”. Besides the obvious, taking Vitamin D, you can use essential oils to help support your body’s natural production of serotonin and enhance your all-around mood. Studies have found that citrus oils work wonderfully to assist the body in relieving stress and bring positive disposition into your day. Lemon is a good one due to the fact it is known as a natural anti-depressant, and oils such as Orange and Rosemary will help support an increased production of serotonin. Another good oil to use to help relieve stress, lower your heart rate and your blood pressure is Bergamot. Diffusing these various oils in your home or work place can help with the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Another good tip is to bring warm, vivid colors into your daily environment, as well as light therapy. They have found that 20-60 minutes a day in front of a light box can also relieve the symptoms of S.A.D.
There is no reason we need to go into the winter months all frumpy and grumpy, when there are so many ways we can help alleviate it. I know I’m going to be walking around smelling like a citrus tree! I have attached the links to the articles where I found a lot of my information and I encourage you to check them out. If you are curious about the oils, Avé Holistic Health and Chiropractic is a distributor of the Young Living oils and can hook you up! As well as with high quality Vitamin D and many other supplements to support your immune system and overall health.
Well, I think I have rambled on enough about all of this. Hope you enjoyed the read!
Wishing everyone Happy Thoughts and Healthy Vibes as we enter this wintery season.