3 effective strategies to overcome seasonal depression

The fall colours are fading and the nights are getting cooler and for some people, this time of year brings on symptoms of seasonal depression. The reason cannot simply be attributed to the cycles of nature, but rather because we try to live at the same pace as we do in summer. We fear the cold and stay inside to keep warm…Three well-being experts from Spa Eastman will show you how to incorporate some new habits into your fall routines – strategies that will mitigate the negative effects of this time of year.

Rather than saying that the days are getting shorter, we should say that the nights are getting longer…
Krystine St-Laurent

Lubricate your nose in order to breathe deeply

 “Ayurveda regards the changing of the seasons as unfolding in three cycles. When the days become shorter and shorter and as the nights lengthen, we are gliding into the Vata (wind) season. Vata begins at the end of the summer/start of the fall and extends until early winter or even mid-winter (depending on the cycles of nature in different areas of the world.)” – Krystine St-Laurent.

This cold, dry season causes dryness in certain parts of the body – skin, nails, hair…The respiratory tract, which plays such an important role in keeping the body healthy with high levels of energy and immunity to disease, also has a tendency to become dehydrated.

Here are some small Ayurvedic rituals that keep the mucous membranes of the nose well hydrated and our airways clear. A couple of tips from Krystine:

  • If you have a cold, open up the airways by massaging specific points to unblock the sinuses;
  • Every morning and evening (before meditating for example), apply a few drops of oil inside the nose to keep the nasal passages open. This helps to counter nosebleeds, dryness and cracking.

The power of natural light

One of the most important things you can do says our colleague, chiropractor Dr. Marie-Ève Labrie, is to immerse yourself in natural light.

“When we stay indoors, we cut ourselves off from the many benefits of the light emitted from the sun. To give you an idea of what this means, a sunny day will give you around 100,000 lux (a measurement of light intensity).

A cloudy day will still give you between 10,000-20,000 lux, but most indoor spaces (office buildings, homes) provide only around 300-500 lux. This lack of light intensity affects the circadian rhythm  (waking and sleep cycle), which has a major impact on daily energy levels.”  Marie-Eve Labrie.

Benefits of natural light
  • Significant increase in sex hormones (libido, energy, feeling of well-being);
  • Increased production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine (motivation), serotonin (feeling of well-being) and melatonin (deep and restorative sleep);
  • Production of natural endorphins;
  • Improved thyroid function;
  • Production of vitamin D;
  • Production of nitric oxide (a natural vasodilator that lowers blood pressure, increases blood flow to the brain and fights germs);
  • Decrease in stress hormones.

Dr. Marie-Ève Labrie appeals to participants to simply go outside at least once a day – though that sounds easier in principle than in practice! Another strategy is to open a window on mild, sunny days, allowing the sun’s rays to bounce off the various surfaces inside, letting in a certain amount of natural light.

Our thoughts create our life

 When the cold weather arrives, we tend to draw into ourselves and spend more and more time “hibernating” at home. But is your house full of “stuff”? Does it really create a feeling of tranquility? Is your space too cluttered? Sandra Léveillé explains how deco therapy can create a feeling of well-being and help to overcome seasonal depression.

So what exactly is deco therapy? It is a tool to create an environment that enriches your daily life through the simple objects that surround you. It is based on harmony and balance, reflecting what you really need and gets to the heart of what is truly important to you.

When you decorate your space in a conscious manner, you are expressing your true values as they relate to intimacy, spirituality, sharing and conviviality. You are creating a space that allows for a more authentic way of experiencing your life.

“It is important to employ positive thoughts to maintain our feelings of well-being, every single day. You can do this by hanging up a large piece of Wall Art in a prominent place, containing a sentence, a quote or a thought that resonates with you. Such a piece, incorporated into your décor, will be a constant reminder of your values and ideals. The words could be combined with a photo montage or an image from nature – an effective “therapy” that strengthens your resolve and generates a feeling of well-being.” – Sandra Léveillé.

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