February blahs and blues, whatever you want to call it, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or, ‘SAD’, can rear its ugly head with many symptoms that can sometimes drag into March. Many people experience them during the winter months when there is less exposure to sunlight. Some signs of SAD are mood swings, sluggishness or exhaustion, lack of interest, and weight gain.
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the body. One of its roles is to help regulate sleep. The amount produced depends on how much light there is in a 24 hour day. When it’s dark, the body naturally produces more Melatonin to induce sleep.
With the decrease of light in the winter, the body maintains a higher level of melatonin throughout the day, which is why many feel tired, and get moody during winter days. Your body thinks it should be sleeping.
Some are affected more than others. You can help yourself through this period by drinking plenty of water, continuing to exercise, and watching your diet. Cutting down on, sugar, refined carbs, and high-fat foods is a great start.
Getting out into the light slows the body’s production of Melatonin. Long walks, taking in the fresh air, and leaving sunglasses off to get as much light through as possible is rejuvenating, refreshing, and helps to keep the production of Melatonin at a manageable level.
Serotonin is another hormone produced by the body. Widely known as the ‘feel-good’ hormone, or the body’s self made tranquilizer. The more the body produces, the more relief you can get from your symptoms of SAD. A meal with a healthy dose of simple carbohydrates also increases the production of serotonin, which also leads to a better sleep, and positive attitude. What better way to start your day. By testing saliva, Medical research has also shown a rise in serotonin levels in individuals after Massage.
There’s another natural way to ease stress, and leave you with that feel-good feeling. Oxytocin, also called, the ‘cuddle hormone,’ is another feel good hormone. I think of it as “feeling the love”. Just spending time with friends and/or lovers, releases this powerful elixir. So eat, drink, sleep, dance, do the ‘hug thing’—lots—and feel that positive hormonal buzz to get your body, mind and soul, out of the ‘SAD’ness doldrums of the winter months.