What is SAD and how to beat it - Top 6 Tips to Feel Your Happy Self Again
As it starts cooling down in Australia, it’s very common that a lot of people’s mood starts to change. When the sun is shining it’s easy to feel happy and resilient, but then we hit Autumn and start seeing rain and clouds and suddenly people commonly report feeling down and depressed.
This phenomenon is aptly named SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder) where people report symptoms of depression, mood disorders, hopelessness, fatigue, sleep difficulties, weight gain, social withdrawal and even mania around Autumn and Winter.
Due to the weather, we’re outside less therefore getting less real light exposure. The days are also shorter and you may find yourself leaving for work when it's dark and travelling home in the dark - this limited sunlight exposure can significantly affect our serotonin and melatonin production. The winter months can even affect our metabolism and appetite - as discussed in Jennifer's interview for Mamamia.
Whether your mood coincides with the change in weather or you have clinically diagnosed depression all year round, the experts are more and more convinced diet and lifestyle plays a role in mood, specifically inflammation.
Dr Adrian Lopresti, is particularly convinced and has lead numerous studies on food improving mood.
So what have the experts come up with? What can you do if you’re someone suffering with a low mood?
Alongside talking therapy and in some severe cases medication, a natural approach can heavily influence mood.
Here’s what you can do:
Get outside:This is specifically important for your body clock to ensure you get quality sleep where you’re able to rest and recover and drop into your parasympathetic (‘rest and digest’) system.
Move your body: It doesn’t matter what it is – walking, swimming, playing tennis or dancing, exercise is foundational. Even better if you can do it outside.
Add Turmeric: While eating ground turmeric is great, one of it’s constituents curcumin has a a profound effect on reducing inflammation which is a key player in acute and chronic suppressed mood. Be sure to add some black pepper also for improved absorption.
Add Saffron: This is an expensive but delicious food and can be found in therapeutic strengths in a supplement alongside a curcumin extract called InflaMood – ask your healthcare practitioner about this. In 4 separate studies it’s been shown to be as effective as a medically prescribed antidepressant!
Try a Mediterranean Diet: At SCN we know there is no one diet that fits an entire cohort of people but eating the types of foods that are high in the well-known Mediterranean diet like salmon, oils, god fats, olives and fresh vegetables are very good at reducing inflammation and decreasing oxidative cell stress.
Consider Magnesium: Magnesium is an incredibly calming mineral. It gets used up very quickly in times of stress and for avid exercisers. It helps reduce perceived overwhelm and exhaustion and allows deeper, more refreshing sleep. Something very important for people with mood issues.
These are wonderful foundations to begin with, but as we know people live very different lives and what is easy and accessible for one is near impossible for another. Gut health can play a huge issue here too, as the gut and brain are directly linked via the longest nerve in the body.
If you’re someone suffering with any form of depression or depressed mood, don’t let it affect your quality of life anymore. Reach out to us so you can begin to feel like the real you again.
Deedre Zibara Adv.Dip.Nut.Med.ANTA