8 Simple Tips to Help Beat Seasonal Depression

8 simple ways to beat seasonal depression

In my previous post I have mentioned SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder – also called “seasonal depression”) and fatigue briefly as the cause for feeling uninspired. I might be one of the people who feel the effects of this aptly named condition which range from feeling tired and uninspired to downright sad. Isn’t it why the abbreviation for it is so telling?

Much of the time I don’t feel sad, so I guess my symptoms are mild compared to many. What bothers me more is physical and psychological inertia and fatigue. I wonder which is the cause and which is the effect… With all that, I am one of those people who doesn’t just sit and wallow in self-pity. I have done it before and it doesn’t work. Feeling sorry for myself is simply not for me. I always look for solutions – and try them.  So I have decided to go through my past experiences with it, and the times when I felt very tired and desperately sad and share with you what helped me to get better.

It was the time right after I had given birth to my child. They call it post-natal depression here. What did I do then – apart from taking antidepressants (which helped to beat the worst of it, but had lots of side-effects, and made me feel powerless in terms of controlling my own health)? I took antidepressants for 7 years and then weaned myself off them gradually.  It was a hard process, but it was worth it.

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One thing I’d like to say here… I am not advocating a natural-only approach here. It would be irresponsible of me to do so. There are many people for whom antidepressants work and can be literally a life-saver. They worked for me too, but I just knew that it was time to take my health into my own hands seven years on.

So here is what I did and what used to work for me (you don’t have to feel depressed to do the same and feel the benefits I felt):

1. I started pushing myself to go outside for walks – no matter what the weather was and how I felt about it. I just used to put on warm clothes in cold weather and walk – fast. If it rained, I used to put my hood on – or take an umbrella with me. No excuses. The same thing worked when I was helping my son to deal with his depression.

Here is what I think – it may feel unnatural to push ourselves to do something against our will. But doesn’t it feel good after you have had a good walk? Don’t you feel elated to have conquered the ‘lazy’ gremlins of inertia and have done what is good for your health – physical and mental? I must say – I do. And more than that – it feels empowering.

2. I signed up for a gym which had a swimming pool. I love swimming, and it was an easy choice. Swimming has always been my favourite kind of exercise. It used to make me feel refreshed as if the load of the whole week had been washed off me in just one visit. What not to like? So every time I used to skip the gym and go straight for the swim. The emotions and pleasure I gained from it made it well worth the membership fee.

3. As part of the swimming pool section the gym had a sauna and steam room, and on cold winter days, it felt blissful to sit there getting the warmth through my joints, sweating out toxins and getting my skin soft and supple again. It was physically and mentally deeply satisfying. It was using the far infrared sauna at the gym that gave me an idea for my Far Infrared Mineral Wraps which I both practise and teaches now. They can be done both at home and in a clinic, so anybody can learn to do them.

4. One of the consequences of being depressed and taking antidepressants was weight gain. I put on 20kg in that time. It was a combination of factors which made it happen I believe – not enough exercise because of feeling low and depressed, comfort eating, as well as the abundance of stress hormones which had disrupted my metabolism.

Weight gain, in turn, made me feel tired, sad and powerless. So one day I decided: enough! I signed up with Weight Watchers and had lost all that extra weight. I must say here – it didn’t last, which I write about in my post here. I needed a nutritional lifestyle, not a diet, which is what I am following now. However, at the time losing so much weight gave me a huge boost of confidence – and lifted my mood!

You may be the one struggling with the opposite – such as bulimia or even anorexia. My family has had an experience with both. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. Be careful with how you assess yourself and your condition and what you do for yourself. Even though losing weight may feel good in cases of anorexia, it is a false feeling of ‘good’ which does not reflect the reality. Do seek professional help.

5. Having read what helped others with SAD, I started taking supplements. My first choice was magnesium citrate. I had spent a lot of time learning and writing about this wonderful mineral to know how important it was for beating winter blues, raising metabolism, getting rid of stiffness in the body and losing weight.

My second supplement was vitamin D3. I used it as a spray under the tongue.

The third supplement was vitamin B complex which is so important for the nervous system, maintaining metabolic processes and general health.

The other supplement was the probiotic complex. Our gut is directly linked to the brain, and if the gut is in a bad shape, our mood gets affected – through a disruption of metabolism. So it is very important to look after it, and taking Acidophilus Bifidus was just one step. I also ate lots of live yoghurt, fermented cabbage and prebiotics – to feed the good bacteria in the gut.

6. My food choices had to be changed. I knew that I was eating lots of bread. Bread used to be the ultimate comfort food for me. And by bread, I mean everything made with flour – freshly baked bread, rolls, croutons, pretzels, pizzas, pies – the lot. So I had to reduce the amount of it in my daily meals. I realised that bread was making me feel sluggish and bloated too.

I wasn’t a sweet tooth, so no changes needed to be made there. However, like most people, I used to think that lots of fruit were good for me, so ate loads – apples, bananas, peaches, satsumas, plums, melons… I believe that the sharp hikes and slumps in sugar levels were messing up not only with my energy but with weight, hormones and the mood.

Cutting down on bread and fruit did make a difference, but it was not until much later that I started following a low carb lifestyle which has completely changed the way I felt physically and psychologically. I write about it in my previous posts.

7. I started spraying magnesium oil all over my body twice a week and every time I couldn’t sleep. I also started taking magnesium baths and using my own magnesium wraps. Magnesium is a fantastic natural relaxant, and transdermal application of magnesium is the fastest way to deliver optimal amounts of this vital mineral to all the body cells. It also takes part in the production of most hormones. Magnesium deficiency makes cells resistant to insulin, which creates a risk of diabetes. It is also needed to help us deal with stress and depression.

The benefit from transdermal applications of magnesium oil is felt within minutes. It makes me feel relaxed and sleepy, which is why the best time for it is evening, before bedtime. If you are anxious and stressed then a very warm magnesium bath or a magnesium wrap might be the best option for you.

8. I started planning time to enjoy myself. I am what some call a workaholic. I spend lots of time building my business, creating products, writing my blog and just writing. When I don’t do it, I am busy fixing technical stuff, creating infographics, looking after my social media accounts, and yes – treating my clients. Doing all of this takes much of my day, and evening too. And like everybody else, I need to look after my home and do all the chores everyone else does. This leaves no time for rest and enjoyment. So I have decided to make time to enjoy myself, every day (even for an hour) and something bigger weekly. This makes a big difference since it breaks the cycle of monotony and responsibility. You allow yourself to let your hair loose and do what your heart desires. 😉

The efforts you make consistently is what will eventually start changing your physiology and what happens in your mind. The sense of control and power it brings is amazing. This is what will eventually start changing your life. It happened to me, and it can certainly happen to you too. I just need to remember these simple strategies every time I feel tired and uninspired. 😉

P.S. If you would like to learn how to use minerals, including magnesium salts, in order to help yourself regain energy and zest for life, tune into my Mineral Healing Workshops which I have started streaming on my Facebook page live twice a week. If you are not a facebook person, I have already started posting the workshops on the blog, so you can watch them here. And if you would like to learn how minerals help us heal, pick up the free “Mineral Healing” ebook.

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