The mercury dips, it’s grey outside and the days get shorter and shorter: welcome to November! We secretly envy the bears that are hibernating for the winter as we get out of our warm and cozy beds. For many people, fall is synonymous with the cold season blues. Here’s how to beat the melancholy and load up on energy.
A decrease in natural light will have consequences on our mood. Scientifically speaking, we produce less serotonin, a neurotransmitter that keeps us awake and regulates how we’re feeling. Our biological clock is also disrupted, a factor that can increase the risk of depression in some people. Not to mention that an rise in melatonin production will have us feeling more tired and influence our mood. It’s biological!
Blues or… depression?
18% of Canadians will develop seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder. This illness should not be taken lightly and you should consult a healthcare practitioner if you think you may be suffering from it. Others may experience a slight drop in energy but it shouldn’t affect your ability to perform daily activities, which may improve by adopting certain habits.
Walking outside for 30 minutes a day
Even if the sun isn’t shining quite as bright as it was and the days are shorter, it’s essential to take advantage of the natural light that the sun gives us. Getting outside everyday between noon and 2:00 p.m. is something that will make a big difference. Have the day off? Go for a hike and enjoy that bright sunshine!
Take a Zumba class
Here’s a helpful tidbit: exercise has positive effects on our mood! The production of endorphins creates an immediate sense of wellbeing. Signing up for an exercise class, whether it’s yoga, badminton or Zumba, will motivate you to get moving on a weekly basis: it’s a commitment you make! Outdoor sports are also a good option, why not double your chances of overcoming your doldrums?
Hit the hay (and turn off your phone) earlier
It may seem obvious, but one reason for a lack of energy could be caused by poor sleep. We need the right amount of sleep and each one of us has different needs. To ensure you have a quality night, take a moment to relax before bed, with no technology, like sipping on tea while reading a good book.
Make delicious meals
There are many studies that have shown a link between certain foods and depression. However, there isn’t sufficient evidence on this matter and you have to interpret the findings with a critical eye. Some information does hold true: limit processed foods and refined sugars, add more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, dairy products and fish to your diet. Basically, you should cook more often. A comforting homemade soup will help, we promise!
Light therapy is used to treat seasonal depression but could be of benefit to others as well. A 30-minute session under a special fluorescent lamp is the equivalent of a spring morning spent under the sun. In addition to lamp therapy, take as much time as you can in front of the window, enjoying the sunlight shining through.
November is a chance to enjoy some extra cozy moments. Cuddle up with loved ones and take a moment to appreciate the roof over your head that keeps you warm!