As we come into the darker part of winter and the days approach their shortest lengths, many people struggle with their mood. Sometimes called Seasonal Affective Disorder it can range from mild to severe. In addition, the holidays can be a difficult time for many people—especially when dealing with loss, isolation, or inability to connect with family and friends. There are options for getting through this time with greater ease and well-being.
From a Chinese Medicine perspective, this time of year calls for a natural slowing and drawing inward: a time for nurturing, quiet contemplation and taking a break from the tendency to strive for more.
From this perspective, the desire to slow down and reflect is not pathological but a natural reflection of the seasonal changes. This time is important to consolidate and prepare for the coming growth of spring. It’s ok to not always be striving and pushing. However, it should not be a depressing struggle. If you struggle with this time of year here are some recommendations to navigate the shorter days with better ease:
Light things up! If you can’t get outside during daylight hours and expose your eyes to natural light, consider investing in a full-spectrum light for your house. Even a desktop one for a short period of time each day can help improve mood. This is especially important for people who work nights or can’t get into natural light during the day. Studies show that exposure to natural light without glass in the way—even your vision glasses for just a few minutes, each day helps maintain Circadian rhythm health.
Get out and move! Exercise remains one of the most effective ways to maintain better mental health. If you don’t like the gym try dance or tai chi or get out and walk. If the weather is too nasty to face the elements try a rebounder or treadmill. Challenge yourself to plank and build core strength, do some squats or jump squats if you can. Try a yoga class with Pneuma Body and Mind in Hodgenville or even one of their belly dance classes.
Food matters! Tempting as holiday treats are; sugar, alcohol, and processed foods do not nourish your mental health. In fact, they do the opposite. Look to nourish yourself with warm soups & chilis, roasted veggies, and lean meats. Treat yourself with organic dark chocolate and fresh fruit like pomegranate and blueberries, or try a roasted pear drizzled with honey and cinnamon. We have a wide range of herbal teas to choose from as well, full of antioxidants, minerals, and soothing properties. Our in-stock teas are 10% off through 12/31/23!
Reach out! We offer group and individual therapy, acupuncture, massage, herbal medicine, and nutritional counseling. All of these have been proven safe and often more effective than medication for mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
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