‘Tis the season to be jolly, but for many people holidays trigger the feelings of sadness and depression, rather than comfort and joy.
You’d think everyone would be happy during this special time of the year, but the fact is that many of us suffer from holiday-related anxiety and stress. Fortunately, there are effective ways to boost our mood so we can enjoy everything the holidays have to offer.
One of the best blues-busting remedies is physical fitness, which, as research has shown, can be as effective in treating depression as certain medications.
There is plenty of evidence showing that regular exercise improves not only the physical health, but also the sense of emotional well-being.
It is well known that physical activity produces and pumps up the body’s levels of natural “feel-good” chemicals such as endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. It also helps release emotional tension and pent-up frustrations, increases energy, lowers the stress level, and distracts from worries and negative thoughts that tend to feed anxiety.
For most benefit, we recommend a routine that includes strength training exercises, as well as interval training followed by breathing exercises while stretching. We know it sounds counter-intuitive, but to fully relax, you need to fully exert.
The improvement of your mood can be truly amazing. Just remember to make sure that you exercise regularly – you should certainly not be skipping your workout during the holidays.
Another key to a better mood is nutrition, since certain foods are known to lessen the depression. We recommend adding these ingredients to your daily diet:
Omega-3 fatty acids, present in certain fish, nuts, seeds and dark-green leafy vegetables, have been shown in studies to be great mood boosters.
Vitamin B-12: Research indicates that people who eat diets high in vitamin B-12, which is found in fish and dairy products, may be at a lower risk of depression; this is strongly recommended for vegans as a regular part of their supplementation.
Selenium may also help improve mild depression, studies show. So make sure to consume selenium-rich seafood, nuts, whole grains, beans, lean meat, and low-fat dairy.
What it comes down to is that exercise and well-chosen nutrition are powerful weapons in a fight against stress and depression. Follow these guidelines to ensure that your holidays this year are truly happy – and healthy as well!