“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them — every day begin the task anew.”
–Saint Francis de Sales
The winter season is best known for the contradicting feelings we experience. On one hand, there is so much joy in giving for the holidays and surrounding ourselves with those we love. On the other hand, for many of us, Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) comes into full swing because we are fast approaching the darkest and coldest days of the year. According to A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia, the following symptoms are common during this time of year:
- Increased appetite with weight gain
- Increased sleep and daytime sleepiness
- Less energy and ability to concentrate in the afternoon
- Loss of interest in work or other activities
- Slow, sluggish, lethargic movement
- Social withdrawal
- Unhappiness and irritability
Naturally, we get even more down about ourselves when we’re in these moods. Writing from the not- so- sunny- all- the-time state of Oregon, I can attest that SAD is all around and it’s… sad. How do we combat this? Here’s some helpful tips:
- Acupuncture, Moxabustion, and Qigong! Chinese Medicine techniques will support you through these tough times in helping to maintain balance in your body. Since our bodies are already using a lot of energy in the winter to fend off wind and cold invasions, seeking professional support for a physical and emotional boost can really make all the difference, so we don’t deplete our energy. We need to focus on keeping your inner fire (yang) going!
- Spend time outdoors (if possible): Any natural sunlight you can get this time of year will give you that much more nutrients your body needs in order to stay balanced and happy. Just remember to bundle up and wear a scarf!
- Exercise Regularly: Daily exercise, (extra bonus if it’s outside) will help combat anxiety, depression, and lack of focus. We all know how good it feels to exercise! If you haven’t explored Qigong, Tai Chi, or Yoga yet, this would be a great time to start! There are specific forms that are specific to building that inner warmth inside.
- Watch what you eat: When making food choices, be careful of too much fat or sugar consumption. Make a conscious effort to incorporate seasonal fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains and proteins for sustainable energy that will not contribute to packing on too much winter weight. Of course, everything in moderation is key. After all, it’s the holiday season and we all have our favorite treats that only come once a year. Sarah of Greenwell Being can support your nutritional needs! www.greenwell-being.com :)
- Light Therapy: A special lamp that mimics sunlight has been very helpful for those with SAD. People will sit in front of this high intensity lamp (UV rays are filtered out) for 30 minutes to 2 hours each day and see marked improvements in their mood throughout the winter time. Light therapy has also been shown to improve symptoms of ADHD. Prices range significantly on these lamps, but from what I have heard from patients, they are well worth the investment!
- Remember you are HUMAN: It’s natural for our bodies to go through ups and downs. What’s important is that we honor this part of who we are rather than be hard on ourselves for not being a certain way. You are you, and that’s the best you can do!
- Become involved with your Community: Volunteering and giving back to your community benefits everyone involved. You feel good for giving your time to a worthwhile cause and others feel good because their basic needs are met. Need ideas? This little lark is still collecting donations through December to support families in need this holiday season! (No amount is too small). Seek out local charities, shelters, and soup kitchens in your area for volunteer work. They are always in need of a helping hand.
- Spend time with your LOVED ones: “All you need is love”… and spending time with people who make you feel loved will most likely get smiles and laughter out of you! This definitely helps the days feel not so gray.
Have questions? Please don’t hesitate to ask! Stay warm and don’t forget to take care of the most important thing… YOU
Blessings & Gratitude, TLL