This past week I’ve had SOOO many people tell me that they are craving sweets, alcohol, and carbs and feeling DOWN !
Cold weather and the winter solstice can not only affect your eating patterns but also your sleep and mood.
According to the Mayo Clinic, our body’s circadian rythym is thrown off balance during the winter months, leading to sleep disturbances and disorientation, which can lead to depression. In addition, your serotonin and melatonin levels (your brain’s happy chemicals) are lowered. Again leading to a more depressed mood.
Most people don’t know what is happening to them and and so they turn to the things that are convenient and temporary quick-fixes (if even):
caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, sugar, carbs, sweets, overall JUNK!
Everything I just mentioned is a temporary fix: alcohol can numb your depression temporarily and then it comes back again. You feel a surge of energy from the sugar and carbs and then you crash right back down.
It becomes a vicious cycle.
It’s okay to indulge yourself a little during the winter holidays. Food brings family and friends together! Breaking bread is allowed, especially if it is gluten-free .
What is NOT allowed is when you use food and vices like alcohol, to ESCAPE from something.
Here are some tips to keep your mood POSITIVE during this winter:
1. increase your intake of Omega 3s. Take fish oil supplements or eat more salmon. Omega 3s will help to lift your “happy brain” chemicals – serotonin.
2. buy a natural light machine to mimic natural sunlight. It can help to minimize your chances of getting Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. This is the one I have and you can buy it from Amazon right here (if you are receiving my blog posts by email and can’t see the Amazon links, go directly to my website):
3. exercise!! Get the body moving, your heart rate up, sweat a little, and get some fresh air. It will not only do your body good but also your mind!
4. socialize! I know it’s cold outside but DO NOT hibernate. Socializing with friends and getting out and about with fresh air will help lift your spirits. If it’s really that cold out there and you want to be in your PJs, invite people over and have a movie night!
5. take a vacation somewhere warm! Most New Yorkers head south for the winter, particularly Miami or the Caribbean. If you start to notice SAD coming on and have tried all these options but still can’t shake that sad feeling, then book yourself a trip to get some real SUN!
6. …and finally, if you are getting sugar or carb cravings, try these options in place of the junk.
All Natural Fruit strips (like Fruit Roll-Ups from the good ol’ days but MUCH healthier!) These are my favorite! Summer strawberry. YUM!
Coconut Macaroons (I buy the gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, sulfite-free ones) but regular ones aren’t too bad either. Coconut macaroons are very low in sugar. Here’s a super healthy recipe for making amazing coconut macaroons that are super good for you! It’s from the Healthy Cooking Coach . Click here for her recipe.
These are just a few easy ideas to try that can work wonders for your mood and keep away those crazy, unhealthy cravings. Doing so will allow you to really enjoy NYC for the beauty that it can be this winter!