The changing of the seasons, especially winter, can be tough for some. The decrease of sunlight can take a toll on your mood and energy. Not to worry though, there are ways to uplift your mood and energy through a simple addition to your lifestyle, diet, and exercise.
We asked an expert, Dr. Martin Milner, ND, naturopathic doctor, medical director, and CEO at the Center for Natural Medicine, Inc, for tips on how to take care of yourself in the upcoming holiday season.
Here is what he had to say.
Can you provide 4 lifestyle tips for our readers for this upcoming holiday season?
1. Diet. Eat sitting down, chew your food slowly and fully. Drink less when you eat and more between meals, focusing on water being first and foremost.
2. Exercise. Walk, do stretching exercises, tai chi, or yoga.
3. Stress management. Deep breathing in and out through your nose, matching the length of your inhale to the length of your exhale.
4. Mood. Visualization, meditation and/or prayer with a positive mental attitude.
Some people’s moods are much more upbeat in the summer than in the winter. Do you have any suggestions for people who tend to feel down during the winter?
A UV- free, full spectrum light therapy with 10,000 lux of light 18 inches away from your eyes for 30 minutes daily during the low light months of October through March or longer depending on where you live.
Light therapy lamps provide signals to the body to help you feel energized, focused, and revitalized. It improves sleep, mood, focus, and energy.
If you could recommend supplements to take during the holidays, what would they be?
I would recommend Vitamin D and digestive enzymes with betaine HCL, protease, amylase, and lipase. People usually don’t get enough of these during this time of the year.
Vitamin D is needed due to reduced sunlight, daylight, and more time spent indoors. The digestive enzymes are to support the overall digestive health.
As for supplements to improve your mood, there are a few. A daily Vitamin B complex and a daily 1000 mg, sustained release Vitamin C.
There is also 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan), a naturally occurring amino acid found in animal protein. It’s often used as a supplement to boost serotonin levels. Take 100 mg 1 to 3 times daily.
It’s getting cold and people are less likely to exercise outside. What are some indoor exercise ideas that people can do to keep their heart healthy?
If you don’t exercise regularly, start slowly with walking only. Use a Fitbit to count your steps and gradually work up from 1,000 – 5,000 or ideally 10,000 steps (5 miles of walking) daily.
You can then transition to aerobic exercise with a treadmill, stationary bicycle or other favorite type of aerobic exercise equipment indoors starting at 15 minutes up to 45 min daily.
Here’s the formula for calculating your target aerobic heart rate:
220 - your age x 0.6/0.7/0.8 (see below)
1. Subtract your age from 220 to find your maximum heart rate. This number is the average maximum of times your heart beats per minute while exercising.
2. Then, multiply your maximum heart rate by 0.6 if you don’t exercise or by 0.7 if you exercise for 30 minutes every other day or more or by 0.8 if you are very fit and athletic. This is your target aerobic heart rate.
Here is a chart by the American Heart Association to help guide you.
There you have it! Changing just one daily habit such as exercising or adding a supplement into your daily routine can help uplift your mood, energy and overall health. Connect with us on Instagram or Facebook and share what you’ll incorporate to your routine.