TRANSITIONING WISELY – SEASONAL CHANGE ESSENTIALS
How to transition into winter with ABUNDANT HEALTH, ENERGY and GRACE.
Education is key to empowerment and change. Without an understanding of what is happening our bodies, or why we are feeling certain things – we cannot change or grow. My favorite part about being a Naturopathic Doctor – is the incredible shifts that happen when people simply begin to understand how their bodies work, and from there how to make the appropriate shifts to get what they want!
So many things happen biochemically and hormonally to our systems as the weather shifts, the sunlight fades and the days get shorter and darker.
This post is aimed at educating you as to what is happening in your body – so that you can take the appropriate action to feel and look your best through the winter season!
How Winter Affects Our Bodies and Hormones
SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a very real thing. The lack of sunlight and vitamin D – leaves people feeling depressed, EXHAUSTED and moody. I find people also lose motivation and focus, sugar cravings increase and we just feel all over BLAH.
Serotonin is the KEY hormone that regulates our mood, feelings of well being and happiness. It is also responsible for sleep, energy, and impulse control. This hormone is produced less when there is a lack of sunlight. When serotonin is low – we feel more hopeless, helpless, and our cravings also increase!
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THIS? – I GOT YOU!
AVOID OR REDUCE CAFFEINE and REFINED SUGAR – both of these things, while they may be comforting to you in the moment – actually, reduce SEROTONIN EVEN MORE! Eating refined sugar and drinking caffeine increase stress hormone CORTISOL – which has an inverse relationship with SEROTONIN. Stress in general will INCREASE CORTISOL and DECREASE SEROTONIN – be very mindful of this relationship
EXERCISE – PUSH YOURSELF – it will help increase feel-good chemicals in the brain that are lacking
TAKE MORE TIMEOUTS – LISTEN TO MUSIC, meditate, SLOW DOWN – all of these things will increase serotonin in your brain
Adaptogenic herbs also help to increase serotonin – you can try adding in herbs like rodiola and ashwaganda
VITAMIN D – PERTINENT!!! If you take one thing from this whole post, it should be to take Vitamin D daily in the winter months
WHY IS VITAMIN D SO IMPORTANT:
Vitamin D is the only vitamin that requires sunlight to make it. We manufacture this vitamin in our skin when there is enough UV light from the sun’s ray. Unfortunately, 100% of Canadians are deficient in vitamin D during winters when the sunlight exposure is minimal. It is recommended to take at least 1000 IU per day during these months.
Functions of Vitamin D
Regulate calcium metabolism in the body – ideally, we want to prevent poor calcification of bones and prevent low/high amounts of calcium in the blood
Healthy bones and teeth – the most obvious reason to up your vitamin D intake is to prevent tooth decay and osteoporosis!
Reduce colds – by increasing immune-boosting properties
Important for mental health – many neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, Dementia and Alzheimer’s have been linked to a lack of vitamin D