Why do we feel occasional Low Mood in Winter?
Low mood that manifests at the onset of winter is thought to be associated with decrease in light.
Symptoms range from low mood, lethargy and sleeping more. People suffering this disorder may also be more irritable and experience feelings of worthlessness. Weight gain is possible as there may be an associated craving of carbohydrate in the body's attempt to raise serotonin levels.
The root cause is thought to be lack of sunlight leading to reduction in serotonin. The shorter days also cause changes to your natural body rhythms, resulting in a type of hibernation response that in some people results in feeling low.
How can Osteopathy Help?
Low mood and lethargy can affect the body physically, leading to inactivity and stiff, achey joints and, in some cases, a flare up of innate weaknesses musculo-skeletally.
Osteopathy can be used to create relaxation within the structures of the body and improve blood flow and function thereby helping to improve physical well-being and thereby mental health too. Massage is known to reduce the stress hormone cortisol and raise serotonin and dopamine levels.
The mind-body link is crucial to our individual sense of health and energy.
Additional Top Tips for helping Winter Blues:
- Avoid Tablet and phone use before going to sleep. The light from these is wakeful to the brain and can prevent falling to sleep.
- Eat foods to boost serotonin levels. For example, complex carbohydrates such as whole grain breads and pasta, brown rice, oily fish and even 70% dark chocolate.
- Exercise regularly. Even daily walking will raise endorphin levels and boost mood.
- Take a multivitamin and mineral boost daily, including vitamin D to boost your immune system.
- Get as Much Daylight as you can. Whenever possible, be outside during the winter months.
Obviously, should you experience symptoms at a severe level, then we recommend visiting your GP as soon as possible for help. In some cases, medication may need to be prescribed and cognitive behaviour therapy can be a huge help.
For mild cases of Winter Blues, please think of Osteopathy as part of your management plan. At Kingston & Teddington Osteopathy our osteopaths are happy to discuss your individual needs and adapt our therapy accordingly so that you get maximum relaxation from your treatment.