Feeling blue? Boost your mood with these medication-free tips.
Summer is coming to a close. With the changing season comes colder weather and cloudier days. And while some of us may welcome Mother Nature’s seasonal shift, others are damn near dreading it.
The good news is you don’t have to self medicate to combat seasonal blues. But for those occasional downer days, adopting some simple fitness and health changes to your daily routine can naturally boost your mood and increase your energy. Here are 5 ways to beat the end-of-summer blues without medication.
*If bouts of depression continue for weeks at a time, consult a healthcare professional and work out a treatment plan.
#1 Get Moving
Ever hear of the runner’s high? It’s a term that describes the release of endorphins in the brain when you exercise. Endorphins are chemical messengers that help relieve pain and stress.
But that’s not the only neurotransmitter released when physically exerting yourself. Exercise also stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, all important chemicals to regulate your mood.
Add regular exercise to your daily routine to balance your body’s level of stress hormones and keep depression at bay.
#2 Eat Fish
Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids (abundantly found in sardines, salmon and other oily fish) play a major role in brain functioning. In fact, a recent study found that people who consumed the most fish were far less likely to battle depression. On the contrary, a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids is linked to mental health problems.
#3 Practice Yoga
When your mind and body relax, the world often looks brighter. One surefire way to relax your mind and combat depression is through the practice of yoga. Yoga involves different body poses, breathing techniques and meditation to de-stress and relax. Many yogis swear by yoga therapy to manage:
- mental and emotional issues (stress, anxiety, depression)
- back pain
- chronic or long-term pain
- overall health and well-being
Ready to make yoga a part of your daily routine? Find a variety of online yoga classes with Gymondo. Classes vary based on your preferences, with gentle or challenging options to choose from.
#4 Pump up on Probiotics
Probiotics have become increasingly popular in recent years. In fact, you’re probably already eating lots of probiotic-rich foods—yogurt or kimchi. And while probiotics are best known for their role in digestive health, research suggests that bacteria in the gut sends and receives signals to the brain and may combat depression.
In recent years, experts have turned their attention to a special group of probiotics called psychobiotics. Psychobiotics could assist with a range of mental health conditions, including depression and may boost your overall mood. An improvement in your mental health is associated with changes in the activity in the brain areas involved in mood regulation.
Just remember, it takes guts to improve your mental health! Add a daily probiotic supplement to your regime to combat depression and boost your mood
#5 Shine Some Light
With seasonal shifts comes a severe lack of sunlight. The days are shorter, the nights are longer and the darker months may cause a verifiable condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Even if you don’t suffer from SAD, you may experience a decline in your mood due to the lack of natural sunlight.
And since natural sunlight is nearly obsolete as the seasons shift, you might consider a full-spectrum light box (light therapy) as an alternative. According to research, light boxes may improve the mental health of people suffering from SAD.
If you can’t seem to get your hands on a light box, a Vitamin D supplement should help. Since relatively few foods contain Vitamin D, it’s recommended to take a daily supplement during the darker months. Make sure to consult your physician and don’t exceed 800 IU per day. Consuming too much Vitamin D could cause toxicity—a buildup of calcium in your blood, which causes nausea, vomiting, weakness and frequent urination.
A Word From Gymondo
Small fitness and health changes can make a big difference in how you feel as the seasons change. Exercising regularly and eating healthy helps you feel invigorated, alert and ready for the next challenge of the day. See for yourself—give it a try! Good luck and have an energetic and endorphin-filled fall.
And please remember, if you suffer from depression or any other mental health condition, it’s important to seek consultation from your physician.