Coasting through the darkest days

Winter is a time of year that can feel bleak for many of us, despite the boost the holidays bring.
Or perhaps even because of them! The days are dark and cold, and good habits are frequently
pushed aside as we enjoy the feasts and splurges of the season. The cold weather often
aggravates nagging joint pains, and our good intentions can sometimes feel like added
stressors.

What do you do to help make the most of this time of year, and to get through it without
feeling bogged down or over-burdened?

Introspection Honoring the season by taking time to reflect is a great place to start. It can
provide perspective and help set an intention for the things we choose to prioritize. Across
many traditional cultures, winter solstice is a season for slowing down, taking stock of our near
and dear ones, sharing bounty and expressing gratitude. Keeping themes like these in mind
through hectic or gloomy times can help anchor us to the gestures that are meaningful
personally, and keep us feeling connected to our larger community. Where can you find a few
moments in your day to shift your focus inward? Do what you can to stay guided by your inner
self, and less driven by external distractions and motivations.

Brightness A little dose of midday sunshine can go a long way toward regulating the brain in
terms of mood, cognitive function, and sleep patterns. Most of us area aware that too much of
a good thing is distinctly possible when it comes to sun exposure, but small doses are quite
therapeutic, particularly in midwinter when the direct waves are less intense. Just ten minutes
of daily sun exposure is enough to give us a necessary boost, and being outdoors can also mean
squeezing in an extra bit of exercise. Be sure to leave the screens and protective lenses behind
to enhance the beneficial effects, and take a moment to enjoy as you soak in a few rays.

Moderation The feasts and treats of the holiday season are hard to avoid and missing out
entirely would be no fun. You can try to minimize the impact by being mindful and moderate
with your intake, as well as balancing the indulgences with healthful whole foods. Don’t skip
your supplements, especially those with digestion benefits such as magnesium, probiotics and
fiber, which can help keep your digestive tract moving forward.

Support Regular acupuncture is a great way to help you stay grounded this season and feel a
little lighter as we move through the darkness. The practitioners at Naturna can suggest specific
treatments to address your particular concerns.

 

References

Chekroud, S. R., Gueorguieva, R., Zheutlin, A. B., Paulus, M., Krumholz, H. .M., Krystal, J. H. &
Chekroud, A. M. (2018) Association between physical exercise and mental health in 1·2 million

individuals in the USA between 2011 and 2015: a cross-sectional study. Lancet Psychiatry, 5(9),
739–746. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(18)30227-X

Kent, S. T., McClure, L. A., Crosson, W. L., Arnett, D. K., Wadley, V. G., & Sathiakumar, N. (2009).
Effect of sunlight exposure on cognitive function among depressed and non-depressed
participants: a REGARDS cross-sectional study. Environmental health : a global access science
source, 8, 34. doi:10.1186/1476-069X-8-34

Mead M. N. (2008). Benefits of sunlight: a bright spot for human health. Environmental health
perspectives, 116(4), A160–A167. doi:10.1289/ehp.116-a160

Teixeira, J., Santos, M. J., Matos, L. C., & Machado, J. P. (2018) Evaluation of the Effectiveness of
Acupuncture in the Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis: A Case Study. Medicines, 5(1), 18.
doi:10.3390/medicines5010018

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