Winter Tips from Michele Pernetta

The winter blues. We've all been subjected to these moody feelings at one time or another. The dark nights, drizzly days and long evenings can all take their toll throughout the colder months. But there's a way to fight them, and Fierce Grace founder Michele Pernetta gives her top tips on hot to combat these unwanted feelings...

Serotonin and melatonin are crucial hormones for feeling positive and empowered. They also play a vital role in your sleep and wake cycles, which is hugely contributory to how you feel on a day to day basis. Believe it or not, these hormones reduce in the winter months, which is why we all feel a little tired and down when the cold comes. You don't have to live with these emotions though, you can beat the blues and stay motivated and energized by trying one (or all) of the following:

1. Yoga. There is a good body of evidence to show that yoga is very helpful in treating depression, and theories about yoga and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) suggest that yoga can lessen the symptoms of depression and SAD by increasing serotonin levels.

2. Breathing exercises. The journal Medical Hypothesis suggests that the pineal gland may help regulate the body’s circadian rhythms. The author Eric Leskowitz of the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston speculates that yoga and specifically certain breathing exercises aimed at the crown chakra which is where the pineal is located, may help regulate the circadian rhythms.

3. Hot Yoga. The 100 degree temperature and sweating seem to be emotionally cathartic. Getting to sweat and feel warm can make the winter seems shorter and more enjoyable.

4. St John’s Wort. This natural supplement boosts serotonin and works as a natural antidepressant.

5. Sleep in absolute pitch darkness. This allows uninterrupted melatonin production and better sleep so you awake feeling rested and energized. Any light source disturbs melatonin production.

6. Light therapy. This is important in treating the winter blues as it jump starts your circadian rhythms. Ensure you get out in the daylight as much as possible, or use a light box.

7. Keep Active. Exercise boosts serotonin levels improving mood. Take a walk outdoors

8. Eat dark chocolate. High cocoa content chocolate contains the amino acid tryptophan which is involved in the manufacture of serotonin which the body produces when exposed to sunshine and many people have a deficit of during winter.

9. Melatonin. Precisely timed melatonin supplementation can be very helpful in regulating ones sleep/wake cycles and moods.

10. B6. Vitamin B6 deficiency is common in those suffering depression.

11. Sunlight. Vitamin D boosts one’s mood  and energy levels.

12. Avoid Sugar. Sugar and High fructose corn syrup, have a detrimental effect on your brain function. Read “The Sugar Blues” by William Dufty, written more than 30 years ago.

We hope that Michele's top tips keep you feeling lively over the coming months. Let us know what worked for you and what didn't.