As many as 15 million Americans – three-fourths of them women – suffer from seasonal affective disorder, a depressive condition that often leads to low energy, carbohydrate cravings and weight gain, according to an online ABC News report (January 29, 2012). The combination of long days and scant sunlight can alter one’s circadian rhythm, draining one of the mood-boosting hormone,
serotonin, says the report.

 

So, how do you combat the winter blues? Fitness instructor and health educator Nicole Nichols has ten examples highlighted in the latest Healthy Reps article in Repertoire. Here are a couple

Eat healthy. Refined and processed foods (e.g., white bread, rice, sugar, etc.) are devoid of essential nutrients, can deplete energy levels and affect one’s mood. They have been linked to depression, mood swings and lack of concentration. Healthier choices – such as wheat breads, brown rice, vegetables and fruit – help stabilize blood sugar and energy levels

Get more sunlight. Sunlight exposure provides people with vitamin D, as well as releases neurotransmitters in the brain that affect mood. Keeping the shades up during the day; sitting near a window in restaurants or other establishments; changing out light bulbs for full-spectrum bulbs, which mimic natural light; and spending more time outdoors can be mood-boosting.

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