November 1, 2021
Does it feel like the pressure is already building? Those tins of sweets have been in the shops for weeks now, the mince pies are appearing in every shape and form imaginable, and the jingly music has started to accompany your supermarket shop. With recent Christmas festivities muted thanks to the pandemic, many people are already feeling that there is a lot of pressure and expectation to ‘make it count’ this year.
This can just add to the anxiety and stresses that many people feel at this time of year. Getting everything right, shopping overload, wellness issues, feeling thrust in the middle of it all when you actually don’t even celebrate Christmas. All of this coupled with the fact that for many people, it can be a time of sadness when you may miss family and friends.
The phrase, ‘it’s okay not to be okay,’ may be at risk of being overused, but it still rings true. You don’t have to pretend to be fully engrossed with everything going on around. Looking after yourself or those around you that might be experiencing issues may take some planning, but it can be done and can make a big difference to how you cope with the next few months.
It is okay not to be okay, but important to recognise when you need to get help and support.
Whether it is chatting to a trusted friend, contacting your surgery or discovering support online, don’t be afraid to look for support. The last couple of years have seen us all experiencing a time that no one could have imagined, it’s perfectly okay to acknowledge that you might not have found it all easy to cope with. Check out these sites for some support and advice. Mind have information on coping with Christmas and coronavirus. The NHS has introduced Your Mind Plan, a series of questions you can work through to help you get tailored advice.
Dark days without much sunlight can also affect us more than we realise. We have said it many times before but getting outside for half an hour or so every day can make a big difference to your wellbeing. It provides some exercise, fresh air and exposure to daylight. For some, the lack of daylight leads to Seasonal Affectove Disorder or SAD as it is often called. This can result in feelings of depression, anxiety and lethargy.
Aim to get outside every day, it gives you a chance to exercise, breath some fresh air and get some daylight.
If you experience SAD it might be worth investing in daylight simulating lamps that you sit in front of for a prescribed amount of time every day. This helps the brain believe you are getting real daylight and users report a lot of positive feedback.
Vitamin D, often called the sunshine vitamin, is also suggested as a possible factor in helping people SAD. Vitamin D plays many roles in the body but researchers at the University of Georgia looked at the effect the vitamin had on mental health. They believe that it could have a regulatory role in the development of SAD. They found that those with the condition were more likely to have low levels of vitamin D. Easy to take as a supplement, vitamin D is a good addition to your nutrient regime through the autumn and winter if you feel affected. You can take it as a capsule or drops and it is also easily available in a vegan form too.
November is a good time to boost your diet in preparation for all the extra not so healthy foods you might consumer during December. In warm weather, fresh salads and healthy boosting smoothies might be the answer, but in the colder weather we want something warm and comforting. Comfort foods don’t have to be carb laden sugar rich puddings! (Although, the occasional treat is no bad thing.) Think warming soups, slow cooked casseroles and vegetable based pasta. The great thing about this type of cooking is that all the nutrients from the food stay in the post. From simple, chuck-it-all-in-a-pan soups to carefully crafted gourmet dishes with artistic swirls of truffle oil, they are an easy way to created delicious meals with often cheap ingredients and the tired veg left in the fridge. Good for you, good for your pocket and good in preventing food waste too. Try some of these recipes if you are looking for ideas. BBC Good Food has plenty of variety including vegetarian and vegan ideas and Jamie Oliver has some ideas for using up leftovers and turning them into delicious soups.
Soups can be economical to make, rich in nutrients and a pleasure to eat.
Have you looked at your supplements recently? It is always good to review what you are taking and to see what you might alter either because you have solved the problem you were taking them for or the current demands in your life could do with some extra nutritional support.
If you do find the festive season a bit overwhelming or exhausting, try to include a B Complex in your supplement regime. B vitamins are needed not only for the health of the nervous system, but also to help prevent tiredness and fatigue. Add in some Magnesium too and you have a good nutritional foundation to help your nervous system stay in good condition.
If it is mental support, you are looking for, specific B vitamins such as B5, pantothenic acid contribute to normal mental performance and energy yielding metabolism. Taking this alongside traditional Ayurvedic herbs such as Panax ginseng and Bacopa monnieri creates a useful combination as a supplement. Keeping focused at this busy time of year can be half the battle in being able to cope and stay calm.
As with all nutrient regimes, underpinning it all with a good base is important. It is worth reviewing your every day supplements too, are you taking a multivitamin and mineral? Providing a balance of all nutrients is a good base to help support other individual supplements you might take. Essential fatty acids such as EPA and DHA contribute to normal heart function and DHA will support normal brain function and vision. A regular intake can help our bodies have the nutrients they need when they need them. Traditionally from fish oils, EPA and DHA are no available in a vegan form sourced from micro algae.
Give yourself a good nutritional foundation with a multi vitamin and mineral supplement to support your other nutrients.
GLA, another essential fatty acid is abundant in Borage oil. Often recommended for its help in regulating hormone function, it is also plays a role in healthy skin. If the cold winter weather causes dry skin or make skin conditions worse, this is another useful supplement to add to your regime.
As always, we are what we digest, look out for next month’s blog looking at healthy digestion, but if you want to get the best from your food as well as your supplements, adding a probiotic to your regime can help give you a happy and health gut.
As always, it can be hard to change lots of things at once, don’t be too hard on yourself and take changes one at a time. The important thing is to seek help when you need it, make small positive changes and look after your health and wellness as well as you can.Back to Blog