Rise And Shine! Here’s 10 Tips To Help Stop Feeling SAD This Winter

Sandra with her bus pass
Nicola Forshaw is the owner of Mindfit, a health &wellbeing practice based in Liverpool city centre. Nicola is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, a member of the British Institute of Hypnotherapy and an accredited Mindfulness trainer.
Nicola Forshaw is the owner of Mindfit, a health &wellbeing practice based in Liverpool city centre. Nicola is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, a member of the British Institute of Hypnotherapy and an accredited Mindfulness trainer. Nicola has taught Mindfulness to individuals, schools and companies across Liverpool and is passionate about improving wellbeing
SO, the clocks have gone back, we’ve enjoyed our extra hour in bed, but most of us are now faced with getting up in the dark and going home in dark and that can take its toll on our metal and physical wellbeing over the winter months.20% of Britons suffer mild symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder known (SAD), which is a type of depression associated with the autumn/winter months and is thought to be caused by a lack of natural sunlight which in term causes the brain to produces less serotonin and melatonin, hormones which help balance our mood and body clock.Symptoms of SAD include persistent low mood, loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities, feeling lethargic and sleepy during the day and finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning and the craving of carbs due to lack of energy.10 tips to prevent (SAD)Get as much natural sunlight as possible – short morning walk and an outdoor lunch break.Light therapy –According to Seasonal Affective Disorder Association Light Boxes are 85% effective at replicate the effect of sunshine see http://happylamps.co.uk/Reduce stress – if we can increase our resilience to stress during the low light periods of winter and autumn months it will go a long way to reducing (SAD).Increase Vitamin D found in foods such as oily fish, mushrooms, liver, cheese, eggs, tofu and cod liver oil.Exercise – to increase heart rate and reduce stressKeep warm – staying warm can reduce winter blues, lots of hot drinks and warm clothesJoin a support group such as http://www.sad.org.uk/ talking with others can be therapeuticConsider therapy – holistic therapies are a safe, natural approach to improving wellbeingMeditate – meditation works deeply to reset every system in the mind and bodyVisualisation – creating a feeling of warm and light in the mind can be just as effective as experience it for real. The brain will turn emotional message into physical responses by producing a hit of serotonin and melatonin that will help to bring the body into balance; as a result we have our own internal sunshine and less need for external output. Try this simple 5 minute daily visualisation to beat those winter blues…Close the eyes.Take in a few deep breathsPicture in your mind a bright sun, notice the colour, the size, the raysFeel the warm of the sun of your faceAllow the warm and light to sink into the faceExtend the warm and light of the sun down into your bodyFill the whole body up with this soothing warmth and lightAllow this feeling to sink deep into the bodyNotice how relaxed and happy you feelSmileLet me know how you get on!Laughter is the best medicineI love laughing, especially the times when something is so funny that your jaws aches.  Laughter is infectious, and more contagious than a cold or a cough. Laughter brings people together, inspires hope and keeps us grounded – and nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good old laugh.Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, recent research from Loma Linda Health University (LLHU) found that laughter can reduce cortisol levels in the body, protects against heart disease, as well as improve memory. Lee Berk DrPH, MPH and associate professor at LLHU says “laughter may not only be good medicine for your health and body but also good medicine for the brain”.A good old belly laugh can relax your muscles and relieve physical tension in the body for up to 45 minutes. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the feel good hormones into the body and can also increases immune cells to fight antibodies and disease.With so much power to naturally heal and renew our bodies how can we introduce more laughter into our daily lives?10 tips
  1. Lightening up, not taking ourselves too seriously
  2. Find the humour in bad situations
  3. Tell someone a joke, or funny story
  4. Watch a funny movie
  5. Visit Comedy Central in the Albert Dock
  6. Have your friends over for a games night
  7. Spend more time with children
  8. Let go of your inhibitions
  9. Be spontaneous
  10. Laugh out loud for no reason – instant mood changer! So what makes you laugh? Let me know nicola@mind-fit.co.uk
Opportunity for Mindfulness in SchoolsI am thrilled by the news that I have been selected to be part of the MYRIAD project at University of Oxford, a £6.4 million research programme assessing the effectiveness of teaching Mindfulness in UK schools.Pilot studies have shown Mindfulness may be able to help teenagers improve their wellbeing, reduce stress and boost resilience in order to cope with the pressure of modern day life.The MYRIAD project will evaluate what is the best way to train secondary school teachers to deliver a Mindfulness curriculum to pupils ages 11-14 years.University of Oxford are looking for schools and teachers to take part in this research project, previous pilot studies have taken place in the south of the country and I’d love to see some of our schools in the Liverpool area benefit from being involved in the project.If you are a teacher at a secondary state school and are interested in getting involved then please contact mindful.teachers@psych.ox.ac.uk for further details. 
Baby Joseph with brother Archie and sister Jess
Baby Joseph with brother Archie and sister Jess
In last month’s column I wrote about the power of gratitude as way to instantly boost mindset and invited you to think about all the things that you are grateful for and get into the habit of making a daily grateful list. I have received some wonderful emails from people sharing such lovely stories. Sandra from Seaforth has just turned 60 and says she is extremely grateful for her new bus pass as she can now travel across Liverpool and as far as Southport and Chester whenever she likes for free “This buss pass has given me a new lease of life and I intend to make the most of it! says Sandra. Brilliant!Karen from Crosby sent in a photo of her gorgeous new baby Joseph, weighing a healthy 8 lb 10’ “so grateful to finally have him here safe and well” says Karen.So from new life to a new lease of life – it’s great to count our blessings and try to live every day as if it were our last. We wish you both good health & happiness all the way!Healthy alternatives to Red MeatNews broke this week of the dangers of eating too much red or processed meat with evidence suggesting as little as two portions of red meat a week can increase your chances of bowel cancer by 20%.It is recommended that we should eat no more than 70g of red meat a day, but 33% of us have more than 100g per day. For example if we have a ham sandwich for lunch and a spag bol for our tea we would be eating 150g of red meat, over double the recommended daily allowance.The health risks to foods groups, like sugar, salt, soft drinks and processed meat are well documented but I think we fall short of promoting healthy alternatives and their benefits. I gave up red and processed meat six months ago and found it hard at first deciding what to buy and how to put meals together. It’s well worthwhile doing your research first even if you simply want to cut down or you can be left feeling a bit lost and very hungry!
Eating well -Mo Farah
Eating well -Mo Farah
Healthy protein alternatives include foods such as Quorn fish, chicken, turkey, Nuts, beans, whole grains and low fat dairy, according to research from Harvard Medical School replacing one portion of red meat with any of the above options, on a long term basis, can reduce mortality by up to 19% so it’s well worth a try. I have started making spaghetti bolognese with Quorn mince and my husband and daughter haven’t even noticed!There are lots of fantastic local health food stores in Liverpool who are doing a great job in helping us to get health conscious and planet conscious. If you are looking for healthy alternatives check out these local companies:Claremont Farm, Old Clatterbridge Road, @claremontfarmRecent winner of Morecrofts Merseyside Best Independent Business 2015 Award this family run business is famous for its home grown strawberries and asparagus! Bread, milk, cheese is all sourced from the surrounding areas and it also has an onsite Fishery – well worth a visit.Mattas International Foods, Bold St @MattasLiverpool, specialising in vegetarian, vegan and superfoods to boost your intake of essential minerals and vitamins.Barnetts Food Store, St John’s Road, Waterloo @barnetthealth  offering a wide range of organic, vegetarian, vegan and fair trade food and drink such as grains, pulses, gluten free foods, herbal teas, remedies and supplements as well as freshly baked bread.Givekitchen online based Liverpool company @give2040 specialising in plantbased wholefoods