With the darker evenings, shorter days and miserable weather, it’s easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom. However, by making a few small changes to your lifestyle, you can ensure you keep the blues at bay!
- Try to have a positive outlook on life. By being more optimistic you can handle anything life throws at you. Research shows that most of the things which people worry about never actually happen. Often times we magnify our problems. One should always ask themselves, “will this matter in five years’ time?” Usually it won’t!
- Get sufficient exercise – Everyone knows that exercise is good for our physical health. Exercise is also one of the
easiest and most effective ways to improve our mental health. Regular moderate exercise can have a profound positive impact on depression and anxiety. It also reduces stress, improves memory function, helps you sleep better and boosts overall mood. No matter what your age or fitness level, exercise can be used as a powerful tool to make you feel better. When we exercise our brain releases endorphins, adrenaline and serotonin. These chemicals all work together to make you feel good. In addition, after exercising you may feel a sense of achievement and physically your muscles will relax deeper because of the exercise – easing tension and strain. Regular exercise of over 35 minutes 3 to 4 times per week is a great start!
- Eat a healthy balanced diet. Certain nutrients have a massive impact on maintaining normal brain function. There are many foods which can help increase our energy and boost our mood. The secret to ensuring you receive all the required nutrients is by eating a balanced diet and taking good quality supplements when required.
Here are a few of the important nutrients:
Folate C also known as Folic Acid or B9: this helps the body to create new cells and supports serotonin regulation. Serotonin is the happy hormone which improves our mood. Folate deficiencies can cause fatigue and low levels of serotonin. Good sources of folate include spinach, asparagus, Brussel sprouts and avocadoes.
Magnesium: Magnesium helps maintain and protect the body’s health. Being deficient in magnesium can cause irritability, fatigue, mental confusion and stress. Good food sources which contain magnesium include almonds, spinach and cashew nuts.
Omega3: Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that plays an important role in brain health. Deficiency symptoms include fatigue and memory decline. Good sources of Omega 3 include Chia seeds, herring, oily fish and nuts.
Vitamin B6 and B12: These water soluble vitamins help with the production of neurotransmitters which send messages from the brain to the rest of the body. A deficiency can cause confusion and depression. Good food sources include chickpeas, salmon, tuna, rainbow trout and mozzarella cheese.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps regulate cell growth. Low levels of Vitamin D are associated with depressive symptoms. Usually lowered levels of Vitamin D are as a result of limited sun exposure. Vitamin D helps with mood regulation. The best source of Vitamin Dis the sun. Food sources include eggs, salmon and chanterelle mushrooms.
Sometimes it is a challenge to beat the blues but the more proactive we are – the easier it will be!!! Remember keep smiling – spring is on the way!
Brid Brady MSc. Clinical Nutrition/ Revive Active Account Manager