As Autumn is officially underway here in the Northern hemisphere, many of us may be getting prepared to embrace the chilly weather of the changing seasons by wrapping up warm.
This winter will be challenging for many people, so it is essential to take steps to ensure you are protecting the entire spectrum of your health – mind, body, and emotional well-being too.
Feeling good, no matter the weather or the season, can boost your mental and emotional health. Research also shows that being happy may help to keep your immune system strong, therefore helping to reduce your risk of developing colds or infections. 
Does Winter Sadness Exist?
Yes, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs in a seasonal pattern. Two of the most common symptoms of SAD are a low mood and a lack of interest in life.
The winter blues is estimated to affect up to 2 million people in the U.K. and more than 12 million across Northern Europe. It can affect people of any age, including children.
What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
The theory behind Seasonal Affective Disorder is that it is caused by a lack of sunlight, which prevents the hypothalamus in the brain from working properly. In return, this can affect the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. In people with SAD, the body may produce this at higher-than-normal levels.
Typical symptoms of SAD include:
- Low mood or depression
- Increased levels of stress and anxiety
- Overeating, particularly with a craving for carbohydrates
- Weight gain
- Social withdrawal (the feeling of “hibernating”)
Our Top Tips to Beat SAD and Feel Good Again
Balancing Serotonin and Melatonin levels can help maintain your body’s daily rhythm, which is linked to the seasonal night-day cycle.
For people suffering from SAD, changes in serotonin and melatonin levels can disrupt normal daily rhythms. The result is difficulties adjusting to seasonal changes in day length, leading to sleep, mood, and behaviour changes.
Here are our top suggestions to help to keep you feeling good this winter…
- Get Enough Vitamin D3 – This is essential to promote serotonin production and is most likely the case because Vitamin D3 activates genes that release neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin that affect brain function. We recommend taking a Vitamin D3 supplement daily to ensure you get enough of this vital nutrient.
- Consider Light Therapy – Using a light therapy lamp may be a simple yet powerful way to ease the symptoms of SAD. A good light box should provide exposure to 10,000 lux of light and produce as little U.V. light as possible. Ideally, it is recommended to use the light therapy lamp first thing in the morning for 20-30 minutes.
- Exercise – Moving daily and taking part in regular exercise can help release endorphins, hormones that can reduce pain and increase feelings of well-being. Exercise also benefits your metabolism, which may help to improve your energy levels. Simple forms of exercise include walking, cycling, jogging, or swimming.
- Boost Your Energy Levels with B-Vitamins – Taking B-vitamins such as B6 and B12 can help to form red blood cells, ensure you are getting enough energy, and prevent tiredness and anaemia. Ensuring you get enough B12 can help to boost your energy levels while also playing an essential role in supporting optimal brain function.
- Balancing The Sleep-Wake Cycle – If you are feeling low energy, experiencing fatigue, or lacking motivation, you may need to improve the quality of your sleep. Combining Magnesium and Melatonin as part of your daily nutrient regime can help you to feel more energised throughout the day and sleep more soundly at night.Getting enough sleep is also essential for good health, as studies show that sleep deprivation (less than 4.5 hours of sleep a night) can lead to feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. 
- Eat Healthily – Avoiding sugary foods is key to good health. We also recommend avoiding starchy carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, pasta, cereals, and all processed foods. These can spike blood sugar levels and create an inflammatory response in the body that may increase anxiety or stress overall.A study shows that eating nutrient-dense foods such as organic fruits and vegetables leads to fewer mental health issues. Meanwhile, according to a study published in The British Journal of Nutrition, consuming nutrient-poor foods (starchy carbs, processed foods) can worsen stress, anxiety, and depression. 
- Get Enough Omega-3s – This may have anti-inflammatory effects by ensuring you take enough Omega-3 fatty acids – eicosapentaenoic acid (EHA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – both of which may help to relieve depression. Mood disorders can benefit from taking Omega-3s, with meta-analyses suggesting that Omega-3s are effective at improving conditions such as depression. 
Here is the list of product recommendations for the above nutrient suggestions, as highlighted for their benefits by our sponsor Good Health Naturally:
Vitamin D3 4000IU – Boosts energy levels and supports immune health. It is recommended for all-year-round optimal health support. Suitable for vegetarians. 90 capsules.
Liposomal B4 Health™ – A Liposomal B Vitamin formula with a range of B Vitamins in a practical pump dispenser. It supports energy production and provides powerful nervous system benefits. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans. 120ml (about 4.06 oz). Available from Good Health Naturally.
The Krill Miracle™ – Ultra-pure Omega 3 fatty acids, providing a high-strength delivery form of DHA/EPA. It may relieve inflammation, support anti-inflammatory processes and is beneficial for brain health, normal immune function and more. 60 Fish Licaps™ capsules. Available from Good Health Naturally.
Ionic Vitamin B12 – This is an easy-to-take liquid supplement, providing B12 in an Ionic, bio-available form most recognised by the body. Essential nutrient for hormone balance, energy production, and healthy nerve, brain and cardiovascular function. Suitable for all ages. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Ancient Magnesium Lotion with Melatonin – Combines the benefits of ultra-pure Genuine Zechstein Magnesium Lotion with OptiMSM and Melatonin. It may help to promote relaxation and improved sleep, amongst other health benefits. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans. 200ml.