- extreme fatigue and lethargy,
- increased appetite,
- carbohydrate cravings,
- an inability to concentrate,
- and decreased libido.
Acupuncture, often considered for its effects on pain control, can be helpful in treating depression. From a western medical perspective, preliminary research studies have shown that acupuncture releases serotonin and noradrenaline-norepinephrine in animals, common stimulants used in the treatment of depressive disorders.
Acupuncture, combined with other modalities such as light therapy, diet and exercise, can indeed help bring the body back to balance. Light therapy includes dawn-simulating alarm clocks and light boxes that help the body maintain its circadian rhythms. There may be a tendency to become more inactive and isolated in winter, but it is important to keep active. Consider outdoor activities, especially when the sun is shining. Indoor stretches and exercises such as swimming, yoga, or tai qi, are excellent ways to keep a healthy mind and body. Special care should be taken to ensure a healthy diet in winter months. Researchers in Britain looked at depression and diet and found that people who ate a junk food diet — one that was high in processed meat, chocolates, sweet desserts, fried food, refined cereals and high-fat dairy products — were more likely to report symptoms of depression. The good news is that the people who ate a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish were less likely to report being depressed.
It’s also important to appreciate the natural changes in the seasons and within ourselves. Allow yourself to rest more and spend some time with your thoughts during this season. By addressing your physical and mental needs in the winter, you naturally adopt a healthy balanced lifestyle.