Feel those cool winds? They’re refreshing for sure but when the temperature plunges and it sometimes feels like gloom and doom. We try to stay positive year-round but even the happiest of us can get a little down. We’ve got the “fall blues” and they are characterized by mild depression, lack of motivation, and low energy that many people experience during the fall. Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to prevent the overwhelming feeling of fatigue and solutions to get yourself back to speed.
Here are the main reasons people fall victim to this phenomenon and some great tips on how to beat it.
Why We Get the Fall Blues
Lack of sunlight causes our brain to produce more melatonin, a hormone that makes us sleepy. The release of this hormone is associated with sunlight, and linked to light and dark. Since the sun sets earlier, there are more dark hours and our body wants to go to bed earlier or requires more hours of sleep. It is completely normal to adjust the body to the new weather atmosphere, and to slow down, however, the need for more sleep due to the lack of sunlight, and the overall feeling of tiredness, can lead to season affective disorder and fall blues.
Diet change is another significant reason for feeling super drained in the fall and winter seasons. It is true that you feel what you eat. Certain foods affect mood. Dietary changes can trigger chemical and physiological changes within the brain that alter our behaviour and emotions. Irregular eating habits, eating too many fatty foods, deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids, neglecting important nutrients and not taking in enough carbohydrates are just a few of the diet habits that lead to this lethargic feeling.
Decrease in exercise can lead to fatigue and extreme tiredness. While it might be the last thing you feel like doing, avoiding exercise because you’re tired actually makes you feel worse. This is because regular exercise makes your heart and lungs work more efficiently, delivering oxygen and vital nutrients around the body.
How to Beat the Fall Blues
Here are a few basic recommendations that are easy to implement into one’s daily life to beat the fall blues:
1. Get sunlight: Due to shorter days and less sunlight, you may begin to lack vitamin D, which increases melatonin and fatigue. Sunlight is one of the best sources of vitamin D. Be sure to open your blinds or curtains as soon as you get up to let more sunlight into your home, and get outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible. Try to take even just a brief lunchtime walk, and make sure your work and home environments are as light and airy as possible.
2. Take your vitamins: Multivitamins are always a great substitution for nutrients you may be lacking. Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Magnesium and Folic Acid are great supplements that can help beat extreme fatigue.
3. Exercise: Contrary to popular belief, exercise actually gives you energy. Maintaining a weekly workout regimen is a great way to feel better and reap the benefits that come with staying active. Any exercise or physical activity that gets the heart rate up and the blood flowing and releases endorphins is going to raise your energy level.
4. Vegetable juicing: This can replace heavier meals people tend to gravitate to during the cooler months. A balanced diet provides digestive enzymes needed for your body to process nutrients to create energy from food. Incorporating one or more green juices into your day to day regimen will have you feeling more energized.
5. Don’t forget protein: Fish, turkey and chicken are great sources of protein, which build up your body’s organs such as the brain, heart, liver, kidney, skin and muscles. Protein is needed to build new muscle mass, but it’s also important for sustaining your energy and motivation. A low protein diet can result in muscle wasting or muscle weakening, fatigue and even fat gain
6. Drink fluids: Your body is made up of two-thirds water. Since our bodies are comprised of so much fluid, even slight dehydration can leave you feeling lethargic. Staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to stay alert and energized.
Dr. Christopher Calapai D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed as the “The Stem Cell Guru”, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S.