With the holidays in full swing, two things cross my mind food and feelings. Thanksgiving seems to activate both as invitations increase to eat, drink and be merry whether in familial or social settings. The inability to partake the way you “used to” can bring up challenging feelings whether one is dealing with food restrictions or Seasonal Affective Disorder.
In terms of food, eating alternatively doesn’t have to be boring, burdensome, or bland! We can eat healthily and be fulfilled. The easiest way to enjoy foods you already love is to explore healthier preparations for them. For example, instead of frying, try baking or air frying foods. In desserts decrease the sugar in recipes or try using natural sweeteners like maple syrup, agave, and wildflower honey (please leave the little bears on the shelf). This year inspired by entrees served at a friend’s birthday party I made vittles I hadn’t considered in my 30+ years of eating a plant-based diet.
See, during the height of the lockdown, I was diagnosed with a chronic condition that forever changed my life. Even though I’d been eating plant-based since my junior year undergrad it still called for me to cut out a lot of foods I once enjoyed. So, it’s been a journey to find foods I can thoroughly delight in and that are anti-inflammatory.
As the days get shorter, night blankets the sky earlier and it gets colder many people get S.A.D. Seasonal affective disorder (seasonal depression) symptoms start late fall/winter and usually last until the spring/summer months. Here are some tips to offset your changing moods.
· Make your environment brighter. Special light bulbs can be purchased that mimic the sun (SAD bulbs can be purchased on Amazon), open blinds, and curtains. It is important to create a sense of airiness in the spaces you frequent.
· Keep/create structure. Cook healthy meals and go to keep sleep at a decent time. Once you have a schedule keep to it. This will result in your body being nourished and well-rested.
· Exercise is a natural antidepressant as it promotes the release of endorphins, our happy hormones.
· Get outside. Take walks, hikes, go watch holiday lights, etc. Find ways to get into the crisp air and enjoy the sunlight.
· Socialize. As much as possible engage with others. Remember depression makes us isolate, we want to do the opposite.
As we encounter challenges usually what unravels us is the feeling of powerlessness.
As the year winds down, let’s reframe how we encounter challenges by exploring what we can control within them.
Want to learn more about improving your mental outlook, please join me on Saturday, December 18th at 3 PM as I host a Mental Health Vision Boarding Workshop. It’s Virtual so we all will stay safe. It includes a mental health kit. The cost is $30. SPACE IS LIMITED so please don’t delay.
To register visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2023-vision-party-mental-health-edition-tickets-473122109967
Wishing you a safe, grounded, and healthy Holiday Season.
May Your Hope Be Full,