Written by Dr. Sandra Miranda, ND
The effects of the pandemic we’ve been dealing with along with dreary winter weather has led some people to the blues and depression. Depression makes it harder to stick to our good eating plan which in turn makes it more difficult to keep our blood sugar and insulin steady. Many people have found themselves feeling unmotivated, low on energy, and are realizing they are recognizing more feelings of sadness than usual.
If you would like to feel more energetic and a little happier, read on.
Spring has always been a time of renewal. The days become longer which means more daylight. The grass begins to become green again, the flowers and trees bloom, and many animals birth their young. Spring is visible! There are many ways we can help with a renewal of our minds and spirits. Most of us need to consciously take steps to facilitate that renewal!
A few years ago, a patient had a huge change in her life when she moved from the city where she used to live. She suffered from an almost debilitating situational depression. Those of you who have dealt with such a situation know that feeling of knowing what you should do and yet just not feeling able to force yourself to take the steps necessary. The following steps are how we got her out of this sadness.
There are five steps known to increase our feelings of well-being and get us on the right track to improve our minds and thereby our happiness and productivity. The five steps to target include:
Going outside is imperative to our mental health. Indoor air can become toxic from off gassing of current furniture, carpets, paints, cleaning supplies, etc. We can help this by being careful to use non-toxic cleaning aids and by having an abundance of plants in our houses. It is still important to go outside especially in the morning to get the morning light into your eyes and onto your skin. This will help with deeper sleep and deeper breathing to get more health giving oxygen into your system and to your brain! If you can go somewhere with green visible that will add even more benefit to your time outside. That green can be grass, trees, or other plants.
The benefits of exercise toward improved mental health are well documented. The exercise when done outside gives the benefits of the out of doors as well as the exercise! What exercise is best? The exercise you will do is the one for you. A good brisk walk is great exercise–great for the body and the mind! Exercise is imperative to keep your blood sugar steady. Exercise can be a walk, resistance training, yoga, tennis, soccer, or just romping with the kids or grandkids! Strive for 30 minutes a day. And most especially, set a strict goal for yourself that you will not miss two days in a row!
Lowering carbs in your diet, especially refined carbs, will benefit your brain and make everything look brighter. Making sure that you get healthy fats–avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, wild caught fish–will benefit your brain function and has been to help reduce depression.
Each day it is important to write down something to be grateful for–preferably three things. Only one thing the first few days will be enough to get you started. I remember a few days that the only thing I could come up with to be grateful for was seeing the beauty of the silhouette of the palm trees in the sunset. Writing down a gratitude list is important!
Finding a passion will quickly help to change feelings of sadness to feelings of a desire to learn, grow, and achieve. Think of something you have always wanted to do or achieve, then write down the first steps of accomplishing this goal! Think of something you could do to help someone else!
Taking these steps will get you onto the track of renewal your body and your mind this spring!