You’re tired, bloated and gassy. Your skin is a disaster and getting out of bed to go to work is harder every day. Leaving the house to see the incredible, new Star Wars was a challenge and the nerd-elation was short lived. Hell, there’s even a chance you’re going to throat punch the next bell dinger or holiday fanatic. Santa may be on his way in a reindeer driven sleigh, but you’re commanding the Hawt Mess Express. As Elvis once crooned, you’re having a blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas.
Holiday Blues aren’t a new notion. Everyone experiences them at least once in their lifetime and to varying extents. Holiday blues are acknowledged by the health community as a legitimate concern to your well being. Increased demands on time, energy and money make it easy for anyone to get stressed and depressed AF.
Typically, when trying to find the source of our Holiday Blues, we look to the common culprits of holiday pressures, family disputes, money woes, cold temps, darker days and unrelenting Christmas music. While all those genuinely blow and take their toll on us, especially the fecking Christmas music, there are several other reasons for Season Blues.
Not Getting the D
This is enough to make anyone blue. Vitamin D deficiency is a big deal. Short term it can lead to a cruddy immune system, sleep issues, sexual dysfunction and decline in mood - aka depression. Vitamin D deficiency may be the biggest culprit behind holiday blues.
Vitamin D is huge when it comes to mental health and mood… along with over 200 functions in the human body. It’s needed to make hormones, neurotransmitters and to absorb the other nutrients you literally need to be happy. What’s more it plays a critical role in your quality of sleep – a key component of mental health.
To get all technical up in here, come October the zenith angle at which the sun hits the northern US (any area above the 40th parallel) produce the right wavelengths of light needed to yield vitamin D production in your skin. Don’t think living it up in the south protects you from vitamin D deficiency. Summer heat sun avoidance has southern folks from Cali to Florida getting zero D, which results in rolling into the fall and winter months major thirsty for the D.
Other factors that get your D down: wearing clothing, sunscreen, excess weight, stress, certain medications, chronic pain, darker skin (melanin is a natural sunscreen and thus decreases the amount of vitamin D made in the skin), kidney issues and thinning skin. Sorry darlin’, but your skin starts to thin around 23 or 25. Not a lot, but that’s when it starts.
Get the D on the daily with supplementation of at least 2,000 IU daily. The Vitamin D Council recommends adults take 5,000 IU daily.
Get your vitamin D levels checked as soon as possible. If you’re deficient, higher levels of supplementation will be recommended by your nutritionist or health care provider. Not getting your levels tested is not how to prevent deficiency.
Looking for the fastest ticket to the Hot Mess Express? Look no further than dehydration. Not getting enough fluids throughout the day can and will decrease your energy, making you unreasonably cranky and irritable. A glass of water can and may be a total game changer for you.
With cooler temperatures in the winter months, drinking water can easily go by the wayside. It common to want hot coffee, tea or cocoa instead, but a person can only drink so much of those. Fear not, no one said you cannot drink plain hot water. It’s cool bro. Kick it up a notch by throwing some lemon juice in there. That does a ton of great things for your health as well. That said, again, you’re totally free to drink hot water. On the off chance someone does judge you for it; throw it in their face and cut them out of your life. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. Or handle it like a rational adult. You’ve got choices.
Individuals suffering from depression have been shown to have low levels of zinc in the blood. What’s more, stress – whether it be psychological, physiological, environment, 12 Days of Christmas induced – causes the body to all but hemorrhage zinc.
Zinc deficiency is associated decline in mental health, poor memory, horrible immune system, explodobutt (what the laymen calls diarrhea), lack of appetite, random food allergies, thinning hair, ingrown hairs, cracked nails… and the list goes on.
If you’re ready to plow through a bottle of, zinc supplements, back the boat up to the dock. Zinc is a metal. Metal tastes like metal. The human body doesn’t like a metric ton of metal intimately plunged into it. Simmer down. Zinc toxicity is real yo, and yet, completely avoidable.
Do pick up some zinc lozenges or a low dose zinc supplement and take sparingly… like one every other day with your last meal of the day, along with an omega-3 supplement and your vitamin D. Do get zinc from real foods that are really awesome like pumpkin seeds, organic red meats, cashews, chickpeas, yogurt, zucchini and, wait for it, oysters. Yeah buddy!
You’re Ungrateful AF
Adopting an attitude of gratitude is great for everyone, but it’s even more important when you feel as though you have nothing to be thankful for. It is in that minute when you need to step back on reflect on what you have to be grateful for.
The holidays have a relentless, pressing way to remind of us of everything we don’t have. Our society and life as a whole has a pressing way of doing this and the holiday season amps that way up. Take time now and every blessed day to practice gratitude.
Poor Intestinal Microflora
To make a Long story, roughly 23 feet (7 meter) long , short healthy bacteria in the human gut is associated with improved mental health. Bad bacteria is associated with poor mental health. Probiotics (healthy bacteria) are helpful in alleviating anxiety, depression, PTSD and other mental health issues.
Refined carbohydrates (hey sugar sugar), artificial food dyes, carrageenan (toxic AF food additive) and a slew of other nasty food additives wreak havoc on your intestinal microflora (bacteria in your intestines). These guys are basically Sith – they kill off all the good guys and give rise to weak ass bad guys.
Put down that neon red Santa sugar cookie and pick up a probiotic supplement that contains at least one Bifido bacteria and one Lactobacilli bacteria. Yogurt, bubbly probiotic bevies, kefir, kombucha and the such have enough healthy bacteria to keep a healthy colonie going, but not enough to put the healthy colony there.
If stress, medications and food additives have laid waste to your healthy bacterial colonies, you need a supplement. 4 people cannot repopulate the entire world after a zombie apocalypse. They can try, but inbreeding and fatigue will eventually set in.
Omega-3s are about to be flashed on every weight loss hype media outlet there is, as marketers pillage the wallets of New Year’s Resolutionaries wanting to lose weight. Pick up a bottle of omega-3 supplements today to beat the crowd and the price gauging nonsense.
These helpful fatty acids have been shown to help immensely with depression, as well as a number of other health issues. These fatty acids occur naturally in some fish like salmon and in seeds and nuts - he he nuts. Walnuts are a great source, but all nuts have them to some varying degree. Put some nuts in your mouth and get happy.
Also take an omega-3 supplement on the regular, unless your doc says not to do that. In that case, don’t do that.
External clutter is a sign of external clutter. Think that’s crazy? Then try cleaning up your space and see if you don’t end up working through any issues while you’re at it.
Cleaning up your living area, your vehicle, your office space, etc. can dramatically boost your mood. It clears out bad memories, and to zen hippies, bad energy.
Start by making 4 piles (or well organized boxes): trash, recycle, sell and donate. If you’re not keeping it in your life, into one of the bins it goes without ever coming out. Be ruthless and stick to it!
If cleaning has you feeling brazen, keep going and try the 20% elimination enrichment. Go through each type of your belongings and get rid of 20%, using the 4 groups mentioned above. Got 20 pairs of shoes? Can you live with 16 and give someone in need 4? Have 100 Blu-rays? Can you part way with 20 and make a little side scratch?
You Were All Ready Depressed &/or Anxious
If you were already dealing with mental health issues before the holiday season, the relentless pressures, bell dinging and reality dodging Beamer commercials aren’t going to make things any better. The holiday season is a maelstrom of absolutely everything that can make your already suffering mental health straight down the street to the intersection of Life is Meaningless and Full Psychotic Breakdown.
Do yourself a solid – repeatedly remind yourself that you deserve to feel better. Do the best you can and take it one day at a time.
All this too shall pass. It will pass faster if you reach out for help. See if your employer provides something called an Employee Assistance Program, or something of the like. This type of program typically provides 6 to 10 free counseling sessions to employees by qualified mental health professionals who are in no way shape or form in cahoots with your employer at any level. Counseling may also be covered in your insurance program. Also check out this list of 81 Awesome Mental Health Resources When You Can’t Afford a Therapist.
It Gets Better
Eventually the soul sucking Christmas music stops. Luxury car manufacturers stop mocking your relationship and financial status. You no longer have to pretend you love all your family members or feel inferior you haven’t had 5 babies destroy your vaginal integrity. Life gets better, no matter the season, if you choose to let it be better.
Reach out for help and take care of you – even if that means being the slightly drunk auntie or uncle making snow angels with all the kids while the adults discuss politics and the stock market.
Jump in and start doing the little things mentioned in this article like taking vitamin D and small amounts of zinc. Learn more about how eating healthy can make you happy. Make a list of everything, absolutely everything you’re grateful for, as gratitude is the biggest champion for your mental health and quality of life.
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