How to defeat seasonal blues
It’s hard to believe it but we are rapidly coming up to April 2020. It seems like the first quarter of this year has gone by in a flash. Perhaps a lot of that has to do with the domination of various stories in the media. In January, Australia and its severe bushfires took the lead, then potential threats of World War Three started to surface followed by the rapid spread of Coronavirus across the globe.
Looking at the stories which are dominating the news, it’s difficult not to feel a little sad or blue from time to time, especially for those of us living in countries with severely oppressive weather such as the UK, Spain, Germany, Denmark and parts of the US.
If you’re anything like me then you don’t really mind the rain, so long as it doesn’t interfere with general life and you probably don’t hate the cold either, after all it gives you the chance to stay warm at home and watch life move by outside you, something strangely soothing. However, I’d hedge my bets that you can’t stand oppressive weather like hard rain day after day with very little light, or constant heat with no breeze. It’s important not to allow this to drain too much energy from your life and to keep awake and alert where you can. We’ve compiled a list of things to do to prevent the seasonal blues which can really affect your day to day life.
You can use these in both cases of extremes (hot and cold, dry or rainy), but it’s important to issue a warning and state, please, stay hydrated or keep warm, depending on where you are.
It’s not secret that a busy body prevents a busy mind. If you’re living in the UK, then you likely feel that your work/life balance is severely skewed in the interest of the former. Take some time to get your body moving and find something that motivates you to continue with the exercise. For some of us, we may drop our standards if we enter a new relationship, get married, change jobs or have a major change of another nature. It’s extremely important that we don’t allow these changes to affect our exercise patterns, however. There is a lot of research that suggests happiness and exercise are closely related. Those who do little exercise per week are far more likely to suffer from psychological issues or depression than those who do upwards of four days exercise per week. Is it a coincidence that Britain is one of the laziest countries in the world with recent surveys suggesting that one in four (25%) of people avoid exercise at all costs. I doubt it!
In my hometown, a survey from 2017 showed that 75% of people living there exercise less than once a week. Combine that with three McDonald’s within a mile of each other, and there you have an obesity problem. Now, I want to make it clear that I’m not using this data to scare readers, merely to motivate you! This type of data makes me want to ditch the computer and run home to pump out a session on the dumbbells before heading to an intense football match and I hope it gives you the same fervour for exercise.
If your body is moving regularly, you’re likely to have more energy at work, making you more productive, and theoretically, have more time should you finish all your work early (depending on your job of course).
TAKE TIME TO CONSIDER YOUR DIET
It’s sort of related to the last point and there are a lot of things we already know. It’s vital to get your 5 fruits and vegetables every day, you should be consuming at least 56 grams of protein per day (without exercise, if you have an active lifestyle, that number should be considerably higher) and drink several litres of water per day. But, have you ever taken a moment to consider what your diet actually entails and whether you should consider eliminating or limiting certain things?
Some people have reported that cutting out dairy (or lactose) can really help them with issues of flatulence or bloating. There are also lots of individuals who have stated that boiling or blanching fruits such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and pomegranate in hot water have helped with episodes of IBS. Cutting out or severely limiting caffeine is also a good way to go to help with IBS.
Your diet is directly linked to your mood, according to a lot of scientists and nutritional experts. High amounts of sugar, such as those found in major confectioneries such as Milky Ways, Galaxy, Cadbury’s and other sweets has been proven to have a strong effect on our blood glucose levels. You’re likely to feel great for around 20 minutes and then really bad shortly after. Heavily processed foods also have the potential to impact your blood sugar levels and make you feel rather blue after the initial insulin boost.
Berries like blueberries, raspberries and blackberries contain a chemical similar to valproic acid, which is a prescription mood stabilising drug. They are also proven to reduce inflammation, which historically has been associated with increased rates of depression.
You may also want to try eating more fish, specifically salmon. This fish contains a high level of omega 3 fatty acids which are essential in the fight against depression. As a side note, these fatty acids are also great for your skin and hair, which should give you even more reason to be joyous.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
This isn’t really rocket science, but it is related to the idea of good diet and regular exercise. The more regular your sleep routine is, the better you will feel in general. It’s important that you consider what works best for you. An average of between seven and nine hours have been suggested to be the optimal for sleep. Any more or less than that and you’re likely to experience negative effects. Try not to go to sleep too late and at least get in bed as early as possible to avoid issues getting to sleep. If you combine exercise with a good diet then you should be able to drift off to sleep fairly easily in order to create a good routine.
Magnesium, which is found in pumpkin seeds and nuts, can help you to get to sleep according to recent research, so perhaps it’s worth trading in your after dinner trifle for a handful of seeds.
LIMIT YOUR SCREEN TIME
If you stand on the train in the morning and look around, it’s rare that you will find somebody who isn’t completely immersed in their phone. There’s nothing innately wrong with utilising your mobile to watch a series or read the news or whatever relaxes you, but you need to make sure that your time is balanced.
It took a lot of work for me, but I limit the series I watch per day (unless I’m sick) and switch the desire to be sedentary and lazy with exercise or creativity. If you realise that you’ve passed away three hours watching the same series, it’s probably time to crack open a notebook, grab your guitar, pull out your paints or feel the burn with your weights.
This is up to you and some series may even help to make you feel better, several people have reported back to Netflix that animated show BoJack Horseman has helped them to deal with serious issues like alcoholism, depression, dementia in the family, existential crises and sexual identity problems. That being said, over exposure to those types of things can cause amplification of the issues and sometimes it’s better to limit so that you can get perspective. If you struggle with routine, make a game out of it and reward yourself for doing something. For example, reward 25 minutes of intense workout with an episode of your favourite series.
SOCIALISE OR REKINDLE FRIENDSHIPS
This one is super important and I’m definitely guilty of ignoring this from time to time. Don’t forget the people in your life outside of your own bubble. We are social creatures and need to be able to speak to those around us on a regular basis. You can use new technologies to do this, but you shouldn’t let your tribe slip. Historically, humans lived in tribes of up to 30/40 people and that later became a social group, a maximum of 30/40 friends and maybe 5 or 10 who we considered to be very close. Use your mobile or computer to keep this going and create good friendships the world over. You can start that here on our language exchange section and we guarantee that you’ll meet interesting people from all over the world who are bound to make you feel happier!
Written by: Jordan Benyon, Staff Writer
- Health & Nutrition
- 11 Mar, 2020
- 701 views