Is the dark affecting your mood?
Does the winter holiday season leave you withdrawn instead of full of joy?
Is the dark affecting your mood? The darkness of our shortened days could be affecting your mood.
Our ancient DNA guides us to slow down through the winter. We are meant to turn inward; a more reflective mood this time of year is part of our natural healing cycle. However, there is a fine line that exists between a mellow, reflective, introverted mood and depression. (If you wonder which side of the line you’re on, please, have a heart-to-heart with your naturopath or a trusted therapist.)
Support your body and brighten your mood
If you’re feeling withdrawn, or having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit, allow yourself more time to be quiet and reflective of your life and all your blessings, and be mindful of supporting your health.
Try one or more of these techniques to support your mood:
- Create and maintain a consistent bedtime routine. Your body will expect sleep when you start the routine.
- Sleep in a dark, cool room.
- Regulate your blood sugar to minimize energy spikes and emotional crashes. If you need to eat before bed, make it a small protein snack, not a large meal.
- Nurture meaningful relationships. If you aren’t interested in large crowds, see good friends one-on-one.
- Limit caffeine at least five hours before bed or eliminate it altogether.
- Cut your alcohol intake. A glass of wine may help you fall asleep but will interfere with the restfulness of the second half of the night.
- Exercise in the morning or early afternoon. By exercising at night, you could be disrupting your natural daily cortisol rhythm.
- Move your body, throughout the day, every day: stand, walk, move, stretch…
- Expose yourself to light early in the day and/ or at noon, either natural sunlight or bright light therapy.
- If needed, explore supplementation with zinc, vitamin D, and/ or melatonin with your naturopathic doctor.
Using what works
You don’t have to use all of these techniques, and certainly not of them all at once. Some suggestions will work better for you than others. Choose what resonates with you, practice for a week or so. Keep that practice up and add another to your routine. If you don’t seem to notice a slump in the winter, lucky you! You can still use these techniques to support your body through the winter season and feel even better.