At this time of the year its easier to find that extra umpph to get things done. The nights draw are drawing out, more light and the temperatures rise.
But did you know that health problems like depression and ME cases rise dramatically at this time of over winter months? We’ve all heard of SAD syndrome!? Seasonal affective disorder! Only a few years ago SAD was not a diagnosable illness or symptom and many people were sent home with comments like “oh, there’s nothing much wrong with you”, or “get some rest” or “it’s in your mind” “We certainly didn’t understand what the causes were so patients could be waved goodbye with a prozac prescription or possibly worse not even believed.
Nowadays there is more understanding and empathy towards sufferers. During the winter months light exposure is minimised and so light entering the eye decreases, in turn releasing more melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone. It is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain which maintains the circadian rhythm, an internal 24-hour “clock” prompting when we fall asleep and wake up. Your body produces more melatonin when it is dark and production of melatonin drops when there is more light. Jet lag, shift work, and poor vision can disrupt melatonin cycles so can make you more susceptible to SAD and some of the ailments listed below!
During winter a rise in melatonin triggers a slowing down of our body’s metabolism. Think of it this way, animals hibernate or birds flock to warmer climates and plants curl up and recede back into the earth. In nature life goes to sleep and rests until early spring when daylight hours start to stretch, more sunlight begins a gradual warming up of the earth then once more life sparks new growth with speed and vitality.
We rise out of bed often earlier we work the same long hours then cram in long late night surfing the web more exercise classes, watching the television and possibly eating more nurturing foods as a means to chill out and relax,
symptoms associated with SAD
- Less energy
- feeling low and lacking motivation
- poor concentration
- foggy thinking
- sluggish digestion
- reoccurring physical illness, headaches, sinusitis, candida and aches and pains.
Various ways in which relief from SAD can be achieved. Conventionally bright light source in the form of a special lamp can be used by the sufferer for a few hours p /day.
Lots of raw basil leaves in salads and topped on main dishes or used in a green smoothie or green juice are great ways in a diet.
Inhaling basil oil or crushed leaves from a handkerchief .
All green leaves, brassicas and sprouted pulses are fabulous foods to incorporate due to the high chlorophyll content (another form of sunlight)
Make your own herbal teas and cook with plentiful amounts of parsley, mint, rosemary, thyme, sage, horseradish and ginger, cinnamon is an excellent stimulant and has great antioxidant properties too.