Can you beat the "seasonal flu" and the "winter blues" this year?
The nights are drawing in, the mornings are cold and dark! For many that means the onset of the Autumnal/Winter cold/flu season, altered sleep patterns and a general feeling of increased fatigue. Why is this and what can you do to combat it?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is the clinical term and most serious version of the "Winter blues" that affects around 2 million people in the UK. However, there are many other less serious and more common versions of the effect that the change in seasons has on the body. There are many potential causes and a range of things you can do to help yourself at this time of year.
1. Keep active, keep exercising.
If it is end of your season, you have finished the push for the bikini-body or the weather gets in the way of your weekend pursuits it is important to keep up a level of physical activity at this time of year. It may be as simple as the NHS recommended 60 min walk everyday, if possible in the middle of the day. This will keep the release of happy hormones flowing and give you a little more exposure to sunlight that is so important in regulating your sleep and mood.
For advice on walking for exercise see the NHS guide on walking for health here.
2. Use heat.
Warm foods and drinks, clothes and shoes are really important for staving off the Winter blues. Microwaveable heat pads, hot water bottles and products like these are staples of our advice in clinic at this time of year for their benefits in prolonging the effects your session. Our Hot Stone Massage treatments really come into their own at this time of year for working on those tight muscles, relaxation and combating the chills of this time of year too.
3. Exposure to light.
Often some of the effects of the Winter blues can be due to the climate we live in. Exposure to the sun in the Winter in the Northern Hemisphere can be really difficult at times! There are a number of products that can help combat this on the market from light boxes to alarm clocks that emit light around the time of waking that may be worth a try, although can be quite expensive.
Of course, one of the easiest ways of ticking this box is to try and make sure when we do have daylight (allbeit it seems some days that does not happen) that we get outside and see it!
4. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)
MLD is a specialist treatment that we offer in clinic and is targeted at the a system in the body that has an important role in your bodies immune system. This time of year is the most stressful time to your immune system as it is bombarded with winter bugs and suchlike. The lymphatic system cleans up all these bugs and waste products and takes them away for removal. Inefficiency of this system is thought to be one of the reasons that we may feel for months on end that we have a cold or a re rundown all Winter. MLD treatments at this time of year kickstart this system, boost it's effectiveness and make sure we are in as good a position as we can be to win the war of the sniffles! Check out our page on the service here.
5. Eat healthy
We don't put ourselves out there as nutrition experts at ASM, we leave that to our friends in the ASM family that we recommend on our website. However, undoubtedly ensuring you are fuelling your body with nutritious foods at this time of year will help. The temptation is to fall in the trap of eating comfort and unhealthy foods. Everything in moderation but continuing fruits and veg is a good plan.
Hope that helps. Lots of easy ways to help yourself and if you want to, we are here with some specialist services to help out. As always, any specific advice on your symptoms or condition then we are happy to discuss.