It seems like summer just ended and already we are only one week away from Thanksgiving. Here in Canada, we have Thanksgiving which is quickly followed by Halloween and then the rapid onslaught of Christmas.
It is a very fun season, full of parties, family time, food, alcohol and sugar. Along with the festivities comes shorter days and colder weather. Some of us living on the West Coast are also exposed to less sunshine as well. This combination of shorter days, change in climate and heavier amounts of sugar can sometimes equal a change in mood. Rates of depression, anxiety and seasonal affective disorder start to climb.
For many people, these next 12 weeks go by so quickly that they have no idea what happened. Often it feels like we are swept into a tornado! Before we know it, we are singing Auld Lang Sine and making New Year's Resolutions to lose weight and exercise more. This could all be much simpler.
Given that this season is right at our door steps, what steps can we take to curb these potential mood shifts and the seasonal crashes? Our diet has a huge impact on our moods, our energy level, our weight and more.
With the pumpkin pie in the fridge and ice cream in the freezer, here is a list of five steps you can take to curb the sugar ups and downs and help with the seasonal mood shifts as well.
1. Eat more vegetables. Maybe mom was right! Before the Thanksgiving dinner or before jumping into the kid's Halloween stash, eat your veggies! Try a platter of broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, tomatoes and carrots. Snack on these a few hours prior to the big meal. This will help to fill you up and the satiety can help you to eat less and choose wisely.
2. Exercise. Exercise is something a lot of people cross off their list when they get busy. Exercise is the one thing that can be the most helpful during this time. Regular exercise and movement helps to increase our connection between our mind and our body. We are more likely to listen to the cues and stop eating when we are full. It also helps to burn extra calories and allows us to feel good.
3. Meditate. Meditation allows us to slow the mind down and be in the now. The present now is something that many of us are trained to be distracted from. The now is really where our power and our joy in life is. When we are in the now, we can really listen to our body. Our body sends us cues of what it wants and doesn't want. In order to listen to those cues, we have to be in the now. If we are doing this, we are more likely to skip the third serving of pie. Fifteen minutes of meditation daily can completely change your experience!
4. Mindful Eating. Practicing mindful eating can really help us through the next 12 weeks. Mindful eating is a practice to deliberately pay attention to our eating during meal times. Most of us are trained to distract ourselves. We watch television, type on the computer or read while eating. With mindful eating, we are deliberately breathing, and tasting the morsels of the food. With mindful eating, the chewing is slower and we are consciously aware of the tastes, the chewing, the smells and the feel of the food in our body. Mindful eating is a practice but one that anyone can do!
5. Drink more water. When we are colder, we tend to drink less water. In fact, this time of year, our bodies actually crave more water. If you haven't done it before, try to increase your water to eight glasses of water or more. Drink when you are at work. Have a drink of water in the morning. Try to hydrate with meals. After a bit of purposeful practice you will likely find yourself loving water and wondering how you ever survived with less!
The next 12 weeks are meant to be fun! Family, friends, festivities, and food! Rather than letting your body and mind suffer, try to use these five easy tips and apply them. With application, you will feel better. Your body will appreciate it and thank you. A little attention goes a long way!
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