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How to Shake Off the Winter Blues

posted May 4, 2016, 12:18 PM by Adam Lawrence Taylor   [ updated May 10, 2016, 11:43 AM ]
I hope you all had a great winter.  Maybe you skied and drank hot chocolate, while for others perhaps you shoveled snow while fighting through colds or the flu.  Ah, dreaded winter, why can’t we sleep through it? Our bodies ache with the mere mention of the word.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  Some people enjoy the winter and partake in seasonal events that they enjoy.  Don’t like skiing you say?  Then why not spend an evening by the fire with loved ones all curled up drinking hot chocolate or something stronger.  Winter can be fun.  That being said here is my survival guide to gearing up for the Spring. 

The trick is to not get run down.  Recharging your batteries makes brushing the snow off your car tolerable.

  Try for 8 hours of sleep.  I prefer 9 hours.  Since most of us can’t wake up later, we must go to bed earlier.  The best way to do this is having a winding down routine. 

An hour before going to bed, get your clothes ready for the next day, turn off all screens and dim the lights.  Light is a trigger to our brains to stay awake.  When the lights go out melatonin is released helping us dissolve into dreamland. 

Use a good black out curtain if necessary.  Not only is melatonin fantastic sleep aid, it is a super anti-oxidant.  It is far superior in preventing cellular damage from free radicals than vitamin C or E. Free radical disease causes those tiny wrinkles beside your eyes, as well as degeneration of organs, as well as diseases like Alzheimer’s (Russel Reiter, Ph.D., a professor of cellular biology at the University of Texas)

A program for your digital screens such as F.lux or Twilight can help those of us who cannot stay away from our tablets and computer screens.  It is also available for our smart phones.  Such programmes block the blue daytime spectrum of light emitted from our computers after sunset. It alters the colour to show more of the red spectrum of light for winding down. 

The idea is that the blue light excites receptors in the back of the eyes and disturbs the circadian rhythm.  A normal screen mimics the sun and you do not want to be looking at the sun before trying to fall asleep. 

This is a program I swear by. It has made a huge difference in helping me get to sleep.  You can’t “make up” for lost sleep on the weekend.  It just doesn’t work that way.  So read a book to wind down and get you in the mood for bed.  It’s just so important. 

Having trouble sleeping?  Try acupuncture.  Acupuncture can activate the parasympathetic nervous system which turns off the fight or flight stress response and prepares our bodies for rest.  Acupuncture has also been shown to help with insomnia.

Vitamin D helps ward off SAD (seasonal affective disorder).  We are prone to this in Canada as we have long winter nights, and most of us don’t get 15 to 20 minutes of natural sunlight.  This disorder can begin in late autumn and peak in the winter months.  So it may have begun to affect us before we even realize it.

  In addition to taking vitamin D to counteract a lack of sun, eat salmon, avocado and flaxseeds that contain loads of omega fats that can boost our mood.  For some people the only thing that gets them through winter is special lights that emit a very bright fluorescent light that mimics natural daylight.  They sit in front of the light for 10 minutes and feel an improvement in mood.  These lights work all year round so if you are feeling like you need a boost try a light therapy lamp.

And finally take time out for yourself.  Do something you enjoy.  Have coffee with an old friend, play cards with the neighbors, whatever it is as long as you do it because you want to do it.  Even better come see me for an appointment to help you achieve a deep relaxation.  Even better we come to you!

Don’t have time to get 9 hours of sleep? Too busy with the kids to get twenty minutes of fresh air?  Then you really need to drop the routine and take an hour for your health. 

Some employer may see massage, chiropractic, acupuncture and physiotherapy as a cost eating into their bottom line.  This kind of thinking is what I refer to as first cost sensitive. 

What they ought to look at is the whole cost.  What does it cost their business to lose workers to illness, musculoskeletal pains, personal days, and sick days?  Acupuncture may actually boost the immune system and reduce stress meaning that when you catch a germ you won’t be dragging yourself around for days upon days. 

With a properly functioning defense system we can even fight through an infection without many symptoms.  So get your sleep, eat well, come in for care and take time to ensure you are looking out for yourselves so you can take care of others. 

That is just one aspect of touch. 

Therapeutic touch can also lower blood pressure and halt or slow the progress of disease.  It may also lead to faster growth in premature babies according to the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami.

My clients tell me often that they come for a session to maintain their health.  Most people leave an acupuncture session with a deep sense of relaxation and sleep longer without waking up.

From living without pain, to feeling more positive when encountering the many obstacles in life, to just feeling more like themselves again.  Acupuncture is part of a complete health plan that is much cheaper and healthier than pharmaceutical drugs. And it has none of the side effects.

  Talk about a wonder drug! 

Book a treatment with me. It’s time to feel good again!

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© 2016 by Adam Lawrence Taylor

Use of this article, from the author, is granted provided that full and clear credit is given to Adam Lawrence Taylor and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are my own are should not constitute advice.