Today is Blue Monday, considered to be the most depressing day of the year. If you are living in Canada with longer grey days and less sunlight exposure, it can tamper with your natural circadian rhythms causing more restless sleep, mood fluctuations, and reduced energy.
Blue Monday was first introduced as a marketing gimmick by the travel industry to encourage holidays to warm weather destinations. It soon caught on as a real thing for many people struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a legitimate health diagnosis during the winter months. I know I start to feel this way after many weeks of no sun..
While there’s no science backing it up, health experts believe that less sunlight exposure can seriously trigger severe depression and reduce personal incentives to go outside, think positively, disengage with people or feel anxiety about the world around you. We know for certain that when we are less exposed to the sun during this time, our body can develop a Vitamin D deficiency.
Feelings of uncertainty of the future, the state of world affairs, wars, climate change, elections, etc., can trigger a cycle of mental stress. Anxiety is often linked to uncertainty about the future.
In a recent article in the New York Times newspaper, Uncertainty is not the disaster you may fear by Maggie Jackson, refers to new scientific research suggesting how learning to lean into uncertainty in times of rapid change is a promising antidote to mental distress. When skillfully managing uncertainty adapting a culture of tolerance that includes open mindedness, curiosity and flexibility can strengthen your thinking. Dr. Dugas who originated the term “intolerance of uncertainty’ found that when exposing people to small doses of uncertainty, they experienced less mental stress of depression or anxiety and recognizing the world as unpredictable can lead to building resilience, and attain problem solving ability.
Here are three ways you can help yourself get through these dark blue winter months recommended by health professionals:
- Try a light therapy lamp for immediate stress relief
A light therapy lamp can be a smart way to treat mood shifts by exposing yourself to artificial light. The lamp (looks like an ipad) gives off bright light that mimics natural outdoor light. Light therapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, easing SAD symptoms. Using a light therapy lamp may also help with other types of depression, sleep disorders and other conditions. Amazon has good deals.
2. Get outside and move!
Daily exposure to natural daylight is essential! Go outside at least once a day and get moving! It doesn’t have to be a major workout or marathon run. Go for a walk, meet friends, explore the parks around your area, go skating and enjoy the fresh air. We humans are designed to move! Listen to your body and pick one type of movement that works for you. Whichever one you choose; evidence has shown that exercise can boost mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. And the best thing, it needn’t cost a penny.
3. Take Vitamin D3 daily! Increase your dosage to 3000 -5000 units during the winter months. Vitamin D3 is a standard recommendation by doctors and health professionals alike. It is part of standard lab test that sets a base level at 32 ng/ml or 50 to 80 or 100 ng/ml. Testing Vitamin D levels on a regular basis is a good idea since it also supports the immune system which is essential year-round. You can reduce it again as you move into longer sunny days too.
The recommendation is using Vitamin D3 since it’s more absorbable in the body than D2. Always select D3 for Vitamin D. Other Vitamin D3 benefits are:
- It’s fat soluble so take it when eating your health fats each day.
- It’s beneficial for bone health since it acts as a carrier for absorbing calcium along with magnesium and K2.
- Improves immune function protecting against infections,
- Improves wound healing,
- Helps eliminate respiratory tract infections
- Supports mental health symptoms.
- Eat healthy fat proteins that are high in Vitamin D
During these dark days it can be difficult to keep your mood upbeat and energy active. Be kind, curious and openminded to trying different ways to support yourself and keeping yourself healthy.
A favourite activity of mine during these months is observing how the days get lighter every week in the afternoons. When I walk my dog around 5 pm, I’m already starting to notice that every few days the day remains lighter a little bit longer. Uncertainty turns into assuredness that longer lighter days are ahead! Its especially noticeable in February, the hardest month of the year to get through, the morning light begins rising earlier too.
Take a few moments to notice the beauty around you and feel gratitude in your daily actions.
Programs in 2024
Heal to Health: A mindful to cope with stress. The next session will begin week of January 22nd, 2024. (Date and time to be confirmed by group).
Transform your stress into strength! Start your own mindfulness practice and embody calm and movement with ease in your life. Based on the Jon-Kabat Zinn, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR) that has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and improve cognitive function.
- Nine different meditation practices
- The philosophy of mindfulness and Buddhist practices
- How stress reactivity and response tap into your nervous system creating dis-ease
- How to find relaxation and calm within yourself in a daily practice.
Find out Find out more about the HEAL TO HEALTH eight-week program.
- Sliding Scale Fee $127 – $267
- Contact Rani at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.
Read more about the Heal to Health Program here
Feed the Brain: A mindful eating approach to nourish the body, mind and heart explores your daily relationship to eating and changing the dialogue between the body and mind.
Begins in February, 2024 (Date and time to be confirmed by group).
In this course you will learn how to:
- Discover a deeper mind-body relationship.
- Learn tools of integrating a mindful eating program into your lifestyle
- Gain a language independent of a diet culture.
- Feel a positive body image with self esteem to advance your personal goals.
- Registration requires four people minimum.
- Sliding Scale Fee: $127 – $267
- Contact Rani at email@example.com if you are interested.
Practice Together Series
Join us as we PRACTICE TOGETHER in gentle movement and mediation on Tuesdays at 6 pm, Wednesdays at 10:30 am and Thursdays at 9am.
Access the calendars here:
- Mindful Tuesdays at 6 pm,
- Wake-Up Wednesdays at 10:30 am
- Thursdays, Somatic Movement for Healing at 9am
We Practice Together, qigong and somatic movement on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the first 20 minutes and a meditation for 20 minutes. Followed by an open discussion if you wish to share.
Thursdays is a 50-minute somatic movement session to improve your functionality (from injury, stress or overuse) and posture. Movement is gentle and slow. It helps to release tension in the body and reduce pain. Find out more about somatic movement here
We meet virtually on zoom so you can join us from wherever you are!
Eating Mindfully Together next session is January 29, 2024 at 7:30
TOPIC: Health At Every Size,: accepting your limitations. When eating and stress become synonymous, food becomes less about refueling and more about relieving anxiety.
Join MINDFUL EATING JOURNEY MEMBERSHIP and get the best deal for $15/month. Receive mindful eating tips, recipes and a personal consultation to guide you on your mindful eating journey.
I love hearing from you. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or let’s chat if you’d like a wellness consultation. I look forward to hearing from you!
My best in Health,