Santa may be on his way in a reindeer driven sleigh, but you’re commanding the Holiday Ship To Crazy Town. As Elvis sang, you’re having a blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas.
The Holiday Blues
The holiday blues are not a new thing in medicine. Everyone gets them at least once in their lifetime and to varying extents. Increased demands on time, energy, and money plus cold temperatures and unrelenting Christmas music make it easy for anyone to get stressed and depressed. However there may be a few things you may want to examine to see if these areas are contributing to your holiday blues.
Not Getting the D
This is enough to make anyone blue. Vitamin D is huge when it comes to mental health and mood, along with over 200 functions in the human body. It’s needed to make hormones and neurotransmitters and to absorb the other nutrients you literally need to be happy. What’s more it plays a critical role in your quality of sleep, a key component of mental health.
Vitamin D becomes deficient when there is excess weight, stress, use of certain medications, chronic pain, darker skin (melanin is a natural sunscreen and thus decreases the amount of vitamin D made in the skin), kidney issues, aging, and when clothing and sunscreen block the sun’s rays. The Vitamin D Council recommends adults take 5,000 I.U. daily.
Not getting enough fluids throughout the day can and will decrease your energy, making you unreasonably cranky and irritable. A glass of water can and may be a total game changer for you. With cooler temperatures in the winter months, drinking water can easily go by the wayside. It’s common to want hot coffee, tea, or cocoa instead, but a person can only drink so much of those. Try drinking hot water with a twist of lemon. It will warm you, hydrate you, and help your digestion!
Adopting an attitude of gratitude is great for everyone, but it’s even more important when you feel as though you have nothing to be thankful for. It is in that minute when you need to step back and reflect on what you have to be grateful for.
The holidays have a relentless, pressing way of reminding us of everything we don’t have. Our society and life in general have a pressing way of doing this, and the holiday season amps that way up. Take time now and every day to practice gratitude. A quick look around should help all of us to realize how much God has blessed us and what we have to be thankful for. Make a list of everything, absolutely everything, you’re grateful for, as gratitude is the biggest champion for your mental health and quality of life.
Poor Intestinal Microflora
A healthy gut has been shown to be helpful in alleviating anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health issues. Unhealthy foods can disrupt a healthy gut and cause disease. Refined carbohydrates, artificial food dyes, carrageenan, and a slew of other nasty food additives wreak havoc on your intestinal microflora.
Put down that neon red Santa sugar cookie and pick up a probiotic supplement that contains at least one Bifido bacteria and one Lactobacilli bacteria. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha and the such have enough healthy bacteria to keep a healthy colon going, but not enough to put the healthy bacteria there. If stress, medications, and food additives have laid waste to your healthy bacterial colonies, you need a supplement. Look for our GR8-Dophilus that has 8 different strains of healthy-colon-producing bacteria.
These helpful fatty acids have been shown to help immensely with depression as well as a number of other health issues. These fatty acids can be found in some fish like salmon and in seeds and nuts. Walnuts are a great source, but all nuts have them to some varying degree. Also take an omega-3 (fish or flax oil) supplement regularly.
External clutter is a sign of internal clutter. Think that’s crazy? Then try cleaning up your space and see if you don’t end up working through some mental issues while you’re at it. Cleaning up your living area, your vehicle, your office space, etc. can dramatically boost your mood. Start by making 4 piles (or well organized boxes): trash, recycle, sell, and donate. If you’re not keeping it in your life, into one of the bins it goes without ever coming out. Be ruthless, and stick to it! You might be surprised in how little you ask for for Christmas after cleaning out a few closets.
A Few More of Santa’s Helpers
Here are a few more helpful fixes for those suffering with seasonal and holiday depression:
5-Hydroxy tryptophan is an amino acid precursor to L-tryptophan. You might remember tryptophan’s effects from your Thanksgiving dinner. It can aid sleep, reduce anxiety, and have a general calming effect on the brain and body. I find that it reduces the frustration explosions that parents have with their children, children have with their parents, or when you are just having one of those bad days.
Gamma Amino Butyric Acid is a nuerotransmitter that your brain uses to calm down after stress. This supplement can help reduce anxiety, induce a more restful sleep, and boost seasonal moods. It is best used at night before sleep, but can be taken during a stressful day.
Essential oils use aromatherapy to stimulate the brain to release the hormones needed to improve your mood. “Cheer Up Buttercup” and “Good Morning Sunshine” are proprietary blends of essential oils that are produced to specifically lift your mood. By enhancing the hormones that create a happy and relaxed state of mind these blends are perfect for use in the home or in the office. The are safe and can be used effectively every day.
Stop in our Roanoke, Virginia, chiropractic office now through December 8 to receive 15% off GABA, 5-Htp, Cheer-up Buttercup oil, and Good Morning Sunshine oil!
Daryl C. Rich, D.C., C.S.C.S.
[Core] Chiropractic and Wellness Center