The holidays are upon us once again! Along with the fun of celebration often come the HOLIDAY BLUES. It’s hard to say what it is about the holiday season that brings this seasonal mood change. It could be the added stress around this time of year, the limited sun exposure causing a dip in vitamin D levels or the sudden change from our normally healthy (hopefully) diet and exercise plan to a less than optimal one. Here are a few tools you and your Naturopathic Doctor might use to help balance your mood and beat those holiday blues.
Diet & Exercise: Holiday parties and the menu options they offer are sometimes inevitable. The trick is to learn to make the best of the options that are available at these events, choosing the healthiest and most balanced option and eating well on the other days during the holiday season. A diet rich in leafy green vegetables, colourful fruits, fish and whole grains can provide several of the nutrients needed to help ward off mood imbalances. Also, maintaining your regular exercise routine throughout the holidays is essential as regular physical activity is one of the cornerstones of good mental health.
Sleep: Achieving optimal sleep quality and quantity can go a long way towards preventing the holiday blues by ensuring that your body and mind are well rested and ready to deal with stress and overcome it. Studies have shown a strong link between insomnia (inadequate sleep and/or poor quality sleep) and resulting issues of long term mood disturbances.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for proper brain function. It has become evident that seasonal affective disorder (a.k.a. SAD or ‘the winter blues’) is quite common among Canadians and other northern dwellers due to the limited sun exposure and Vitamin D production during winter months. Vitamin D supplementation can help to address a deficiency and improve mood and energy during the holidays. Consult with a naturopathic doctor to learn how to include a vitamin D supplement in your daily routine.
Omega 3: Good fats such as those found in fish have been shown to be helpful in managing depression when taken in appropriate forms and doses. Omega 3 supplementation can also help manage mild mood disturbance such as the holiday blues or can be taken to help prevent such issues.
Various other treatment options are also available to help prevent, manage and treat issues of mood imbalance and depression including herbal supplements, specific vitamin formulations, amino acid derivatives, acupuncture, and homeopathic remedies. Your naturopathic doctor can help you to determine the best treatment option for your individual case.