Why do we feel so B-L-E-A-K?
Why do we feel so B-L-E-A-K?
BLUE – LAZY – EATING – ANXIOUS – KNACKERED
As well as the cold weather, rain and grey skies, the change in seasons brings with it winter worries. A new survey by traditional herbal remedy company, A.Vogel, found that the cost of winter fuel bills, Christmas looming and commuting in the dark, all add to the worry and bleakness of winter.
By 14th November, the majority of us have completely given up on any healthy diet changes we started in the Summer, and we’re feeling sad, craving comfort food, and feeling anxious, tired and generally BLEAK!
41% of those polled said that they suffer from SAD, mood swings and mild depression during the winter and women seem to struggle more than men with winter blues.
Dr Jen Tan from A.Vogel said, “As daylight hours reduce in autumn and winter, our levels of the ‘feel good’ hormone, serotonin, also decrease which can contribute to feelings of low mood. In addition, the earlier onset of darkness in our working day increases our levels of melatonin, the hormone we need to help us fall and stay asleep, making us feel tired and wanting more sleep.
“Low mood and tiredness combined with the usual stresses and strains of modern day living can have a detrimental effect on the body’s immune system making the winter a difficult time for many.”
BLEAK – Feeling BLUE?
Dr Tan says: ‘Winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), as it has become known, means that many people now recognise that they struggle with the winter months. There are traditional herbal medicines that can help. People do find this time of year and the build up to Christmas quite stressful so looking for different herbal ways or ways to calm and soothe are worth trying even something as simple as stretching or listening to your favourite song will help.
BLEAK – Feeling LAZY?
Get active; One in 20 said they love the fact that they don’t feel guilty for not exercising as much in the winter but it’s important to keep active as exercise naturally increases endorphins (feel good chemicals) and is vital to a sense of well-being. Try small changes initially, such as a 20 minute walk a few times a week. Ideally, exercise outdoors at the start of the day and you will release serotonin through exposure to natural light whilst getting fit and increasing endorphins at the same time.
BLEAK – EATING more?
Don’t overload on carbs; the survey revealed that that roast dinners emerged as the nation’s favourite winter comfort food. In fact, an overload of carbohydrates was apparent in all the poll’s food choices as a winter go-to A.Vogel Education Manager and nutritional therapist Alison Cullen suggests: “Try cutting down on carbohydrates by reducing the amount you consume of white breads and pasta, processed foods, caffeinated stimulants, alcohol and foods high in sugar. These all cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate dramatically and negatively impact mood and energy levels. For a more balanced mood, focus instead on whole grains, legumes and good quality protein.
BLEAK – Feeling ANXIOUS?
Stay connected; almost half of those surveyed confessed they feel sad that they won’t see their friends or socialise as much as they did in the Summer. Isolation may come easily and yet over time may exacerbate feelings of loneliness and depression. Staying connected to friends, family or even a support group who understand and are happy to listen. People with high stress and anxiety levels are more prone to frequent colds and would benefit from taking Echinacea (Echinaforce) to help increase the body’s resistance to infection by strengthening the immune system and fight off the symptoms of cold and flu.
BLEAK – Feeling KNACKERED?
It may sound obvious, but don’t get overtired and do some serious scheduling to get your sleep to the top of the priority list. Curb those food cravings and don’t turn to stimulants which, like sugary foods, give you the energy boosts followed by the lows. Also, making sure you are well hydrated in winter is often forgotten. For a natural Sometimes fatigue can be caused by a medical problem so, if you are suffering with chronic tiredness it’s a good idea to go along to your GP, explain how you are feeling and get checked out.
“Fatigue can be caused by thyroid problems or a deficiency in iron or vitamin B12,” says Martin Budd a naturopathic consultant who has treated patients with chronic fatigue for more than 40 years. He is also author of Why Am I So Exhausted? “Don’t be afraid to request tests for these things, particularly if you remember that six months ago you felt okay and now you don’t.”
However, the survey also revealed that winter is not all doom and gloom, as 39% of those polled claimed cosy winter nights at home were their favourite part of winter, coupled with the promise of improved TV (28%). Being able to cover up the extra pounds in big clothes (23%) and lighting the fire (27%) are the things we look forward to as the night draw in. According to the poll, despite the loss of daylight and the increased darkness that the winter brings, 23% are excited about the clocks going back in October so we get an extra hour in bed.
A Vogel products we love for winter:
A.Vogel’s Sore Throat spray, €13.55, is made from the well known herbal remedy Echinaforce®combined with Sage tincture and is a herbal remedy used to relieve sore throat symptoms.
Echinaforce® Hot Drink – Echinacea with Black Elderberry, €13.25, is just what you need to help fight off symptoms such as aching limbs and headaches when you are struck down by the cold or flu.
Dormeasan® Valerian-Hops, €10.99, is a herbal sleep remedy made from extracts of freshly harvested, organically grown Valerian root and Hops and can help you get your sleep in order which will keep your immune system boosted.