Here is Kerri’s latest email message: “I miss the sunshine”
My focus is on helping people overcome the side effects of chronic dieting: the frustration, sense of defeat, psychological warfare, so that they can find the sense of calm, control and confidence that they need to make peace with their food and their bodies. As a Health At Every Size Naturopathic Doctor and leader of The Diet Rebellion I’m committed to raising a generation that doesn’t look to their body for their happiness, self-worth or confidence.
Feeling SAD? You’re not alone.
I miss the sun. When we go days without it I feel my energy and mood drop. My desire to curl up and hide away until it’s over is strong. Winter in north America is often a difficult time for feeling SAD. Whether we’re talking about the winter blues or full on Seasonal Affective Disorder, it can be a tricky few months. Add to that a global pandemic with a Stay-at-home order and it can feel overwhelming.
Isolating is the worst thing that we can do right now for our mental health. Humans are genetically wired for community and connection. Even though we can’t do that in a way that we’re used to, we can still connect with the help of technology.
Book an appointment with your mental health supports.
- Professionals like myself or a therapist.
- Friends who hold space for you.
- RMT if you need some safe hands on support
Before I go any further, I’d like you to know about some FREE resources. Specifically the Canadian Mental Health Association’s website. Here’s the Ontario link. https://ontario.cmha.ca/
There are free programs and hotlines. If you’re feeling alone or overwhelmed and don’t have people to reach out to, please use these links. They are there to listen and support you. They WANT to listen to and support you.
I like to have at least one appointment booked per week. That’s a mix of paid professionals and friends. For me having it scheduled is key because I’m not likely to cancel on a friend. But when I’m feeling blah it’s so hard to reach out. By having them in my calendar proactively, I’m less likely to fall deep into the hole. Some ideas:
- Phone chat while walking
- Zoom lunch or tea
- Phone or video watch party (the next season of Outlander was just released on Netflix)
- Video games (you may need to ask you kid how to do this lol)
- Online support group/programs
Let’s talk about Vitamin D
You may already know that many Canadians are Vitamin D deficient because of where we live. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/
I’ve heard many people speak of the importance of Vitamin D in addressing mood. However, the evidence isn’t particularly strong in this area.
Most recently the conversation has been around Covid-19 infection and recovery levels. It’s still too early to say with certainty that a link exists, but it’s definitely worthy of further investigation. https://www.thelancet.com/
What does this mean for you and me?
It means that adding Vitamin D to your daily supplements seems like a good idea. Just be sure that it’s a reasonable dose and if you’re able, get your levels checked so that you can dose accordingly. Personalized recommendations are always preferable if possible. So if you need blood work done anyway, then add the vitamin D level check.
Dosing more than 4000IU daily for long periods of time can lead to hypercalcemia. However, doses higher than this are often needed to bring levels out of deficiency. Again, personal recommendations by qualified professionals is ideal.
Do you have a Happy Light? These are bright lights between 3000 and 10000 lumens that sit on your desk or table.
They have been shown to be effective in treating SAD. In fact, it may be as effective as the SSRI fluoxetine. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.
The other thing that these lights are great for is re-setting our circadian rhythms. Sleep is so important for mood regulation and yet it’s something that often gets disordered in those struggling with their mental health.
By using the light therapy within an hour of waking up, for about 15 minutes, it can help the body set its rhythm and help manage SAD.
The power of Nature
Finally, you can consider using nature to help support your nervous system and mood. Walking in nature has a great effect on our nervous system, brain function and mood. Here’s a great article about it from Harvard Health.
But Kerri, we’re under a Stay at home order!
Absolutely. If you need to travel outside of your region to find nature, then it’s best to skip that at the moment. Good news though! It would seem that using virtual reality can be just as effective. This may be helpful for those who struggle with allergies too 😉
I remember reading an article years ago that said even watching nature on TV is helpful for the nervous system. I just can’t find the reference at the moment.
I just dropped a lot of stuff on you. Here’s the recap:
- Reach out and connect with others. Isolation isn’t going to improve your mood or ability to cope. Professionals are working right now or check out the free resources through CMHA. Book time with friends to chat or watch a show together.
- Vitamin D for many Canadians is a no brainer because of our deficiency rates. Ideally you’ll dose according to your blood levels.
- Light therapy with lumens between 3000 and 10000 have been shown to help regulate the sleep/wake cycle and improve SAD. Just 15 minutes each morning can go a long way.
- The power of nature. Ideally you’d be able to get out into nature but using virtual reality or videos can be just as powerful.
Hang in there. Spring is only two months away!
Phone # 705-300-2833
Dedicated to helping you find peace and power with your body,