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On Darker Days, Shine a Light on Emotional Wellbeing

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, November 22, 2017

It’s always important to be mindful of your mental health but never more so than when the days get shorter and gloomier. During the winter months, it can be hard to overcome the temptation to grind to a halt, physically. And inactivity, for a prolonged period of time, can throw everything off kilter: from our mood, to the digestion of our food and everything in-between.


Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – also known colloquially as the winter blues – is a recognised condition. A key symptom of SAD is a low mood that worsens as winter progresses but other symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Feelings of lethargy
  • Craving stodgy food and thus gaining weight

It’s always worthwhile seeking medical advice if you feel like you’re struggling to cope with day-to-day activities. But lifestyle adjustments – although sometimes difficult to implement when your energy levels are low – can help with the management of symptoms, too. It’s important to get as much sunlight as possible, for example, and to take positive steps toward managing your stress levels.

The impact of stress on digestion

Stress can be as bad for your body as it is for your head and can exacerbate a range of symptoms including poor appetite and tummy troubles. Digestion is a super-sensitive process, all too easily compromised by the stresses and strains of contemporary living. It’s the body’s way of breaking down food, a normal bodily function about which most of us never give a moment’s thought. But when the digestive system gets out of step, the entire body can feel its unwelcome effects. It can cause emotional issues, like anxiety, and physical issues, like bloating, reflux, constipation and diarrhoea. In these super-busy times, stress can feel almost inevitable. It’s worthwhile having a few tried and trusted techniques to hand, for when the pressure starts to mount. Practice mindfulness, walk with a friend, enjoy a soak in the bath, cook a delicious and healthy meal for you and a loved one to enjoy – whatever helps you to relax!

Lifestyle tweaks

After a long day, it can be hard to find the energy to eat well. But grabbing something convenient that’s low in nutrition may leave you with even lower energy levels – a vicious circle. Why not see if, with a little advance-planning, you can break that cycle? Rustle up some soups and stews in batches so that you can simply warm them up. Compile a list of a few temptingly tasty one-pot recipes. That way, you can prep dinner, pop it in the oven and then wrap up warm and buzz out for a quick walk while it’s cooking. The combination of fresh air and the increased oxygen levels that follow exercise helps to release serotonin, the feel-good chemical. Now that’s what we call a win-win!

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.