10 Holistic Tips To Beat The Winter Blues. Autumn is Preparation Time!

Beat Winter BluesLike animals in the wild begin to gather supplies in autumn for their winter hibernation, we too should be preparing for the short days, long nights and cold weather ahead.  It can take up to sixty days and sometimes longer for some vitamins and minerals to effect the body so like our friends living in nature, to really benefit from the tips below, its time to build a strong internal body system now.

The lack of sunlight and grey skies in winter throughout Ireland can cause people to suffer from SAD, Seasonal Adjustment Deficiency.   Not everyone suffers from it yet it is quite common to hear people mention they have a dose of the winter blues, or are lacking in motivation, suffering from low moods and generally not in great form.

Well, I am here today to let you know how you can beat the winter blues  if you are well prepared.  Prevention is better than cure so start today if you can.

10 Holistic Tips to Beating the Winter Blues:

  1. Increase levels Trytophan or 5 HTP in your diet, essential amino acids.
  2. Vitamin B Complex.
  3. Vitamin C.
  4. Magnesium.
  5. Vitamin D:  Either 30 minutes in natural sunlight between 12- 2pm &/or a good D3 supplement
  6. Lots of Rest and Sleep.
  7. Soothe The Soul: Take a hot bath, Light candles in your home: Play mellow music.  Go for a stroll in nature.
  8. Meditate.
  9. Get creative:  Find a creative outlet.
  10.  Have Fun: Spend time with friends and family.  Laugh.

Below is a more detailed description if you have time to read.

Walk In NatureTrytophon:  There is a lot of talk about this amino acid within the health industry and especially from modern day nutrition experts.  Trytophan is one of 8 essential  amino acids that the body can only obtain through diet. Proteins change to amino acid in the digestive process.  This amino acid is responsible for the production of serotonin.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps the body regulate appetite, sleep patterns, and mood. Because of tryptophans ability to raise serotonin levels, it has been used therapeutically in the treatment of a variety of conditions, most notably insomnia, depression, and anxiety.   Tryptophan and 5 HTP significantly reduce the symptoms of these conditions and in some cases they completely disappear.  That will give you an idea of how beneficial this amino acid is.

Unfortunately tryptophan has to fight with other more dominant amino acids within the bodies structure for it to synthesize in the necessary way for serotonin production.  The way to combat this is to have a well balanced diet making sure one combines a good source of complex carbohydrates with protein.  The carbohydrates can assist other essential amino acids to be used for muscle production leaving a gateway for tryptophan and its sister amino acid 5HTP to do their work i.e. serotonin production.

It is no longer possible to buy tryptophan in health food stores in Ireland however some may supply 5 HTP.  If not in Ireland you can certainly purchase over the counter in the U.K. and North of Ireland.

High sources of tryptophan are found in the following foods:

  • Spinach
  • Tofu
  • Sardines
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Halibut
  • Lamb

Studies carried out by:

  • Bell C, Abrams J, Nutt D. Tryptophan depletion and its implications for psychiatry. Br J Psychiatry 2001 May;178:399-405. 2001. PMID:15990.
  • Celenza JL. Metabolism of tyrosine and tryptophan–new genes for old pathways. Curr Opin Plant Biol 2001 Jun;4(3):234-40. 2001. PMID:16010.

B-Vitamins:  B Vitamins are very powerful range of vitamins. They are mood enhancers and keep the nervous system functioning well.  They play a role in regulating sleep, balancing stress, anxiety & even PMS . If you are going to invest in any vitamins throughout winter go for Vitamin B complex.

Vitamin B’s are found in a range of foods including;

  • Pulses
  • Veg especially dark green leafy veg, asparagus and avocados.
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Whole grains and especially quinoa and buckwheat.
  • B12 can only be found in animal protein.  Some soy products are fortified with B12.

Vitamin C:  Is a powerful anti-oxidant, strengthens the immune system and builds collagen keeping skin healthy. It’s also a powerful anti-carcinogen.  Found in plenty of fruit and veg.

Exercise: Exercise is one of the best things we can do to lift the mood.  It aids the release of happy hormones into the blood stream while also kicking the body into producing even more feel good chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.    Exercise and eating well work together. While vitamins do have an effect on their own, their power will be boosted with a bit of exercise.  Exercise on its own helps you to feel good.  It keeps you lighter in body and lighter in mind.  It also boosts the immune system keeping you healthy and strong. So make sure you include exercise into you weekly routine.

Vitamin D:  We still have a month left of light and hopefully it wont get too cold until later in the winter giving us a whole month to absorb Vitamin D from the sun.  You can up your dosage of vitamin D by making sure you go for a minimum of half hour walk at mid-day. Don’t worry if they skies are grey. The sun-rays are very powerful but it is important to be outdoors between 12pm and 2pm in winter months when the sun rays are at their most most effective.  Another way is to take a good Vitamin D3 supplement.

Meditate:  I cannot emphasize the importance of meditating.  I benefit so much from doing a daily meditation practice. My life is changing in a most positive way. The old Sinead is mid dissolving.  I am emerging in a different form. I am still the same skin and bones on the outside while being happier, more confident, stronger & increased level of intuition on the inside.  I am also more compassionate and understanding of others. Trust me. This is good.  People have been meditating for thousands of years & been trying to get the message across to us for a good reason. Get with 2013 meditation program.

Rest & Lots Of Sleep:  Now here’s another thing I like to emphasize. Sleep. After all winter is time to hibernate.  One of the best winter inventions is the electric blanket. Get one!  They make bedtime even more enjoyable.  Try to get as many hours sleep as possible. Pre-sleep wind down is necessary, so do something relaxing before bedtime.   If T.V. is your choice then watch lighthearted programs.  Really though, I try to guide people away from T.V. before bedtime. Instead read a book, listen to music or meditate,  but the choice is yours.

Rest and Relax:  Fit rest periods into your days off work.   Flick through a magazine, sit on your couch sipping a warm drink, take a bath or do nothing!  Simply rest and relax.

Soothe The SoulSoothe The Soul:  Anything that soothes the soul is a good anti-dote to SAD or feeling low.  Taking nice strolls in nature, (instead of power walks).  Having a long hot bath with soothing essential oils thrown in, such as lavender or juniper.  Light candles in your home.  Burn nice incense. Play soft relaxing music.  Read a pop philosophy book e.g. anything by Ekart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Louise Hay.  Soothing time is good for the body, mind and soul.

Have Fun:  Bringing fun into your life is most important.  For example spending time with family and friends; Go on an adventure.  Join a club to meet other people.  Or,  join a meditation group, yoga class, or any other kind of evening class.  Dance.

Find A Creative Outlet: Dance, yoga, art, crafts, theatre, music, writing, singing whatever your choice is.   It’s fun and rewarding to be creative.  Being creative also strengthens the right side of the brain, the same side that we use for intuition, wisdom and to feel a deeper connection to all beings.

Consider these useful tips to beat winter blues and develop harmony in your life.

Peace, Love & Happiness,

Sinead. 🙂