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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

4 Ways to Manage Seasonal Lows

If you experience seasonal lows — or what’s commonly known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — you may be feeling less than your best this time of year.

SAD impacts nearly half a million Americans and those who struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol are highly susceptible. That’s because, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), more than 20 percent of patients with any mood disorder are also living with a substance use disorder.

SAD can cause feelings of depression, irritability and fatigue and it can impact your everyday life. The cause isn’t exactly known, but a lack of light and vitamin D, a nutrient made by the body when exposed to sunlight, are likely culprits.

So, in addition to spending as much time outside as possible, what else can you do to lift your mood? Hint: Some of the same healthy habits that will help your recovery.
  1. Work out: Once again, exercise tops the list for overall wellness. And breaking a sweat can certainly combat the winter blues. Studies have linked exercise to fewer depression symptoms, most likely due to its ability to stimulate the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which impacts mood.
  2. Eat properly: Proper nutrition is yet another powerful tool to keep your mind and body happy all season long. Specifically, eating omega-3-rich foods (think fatty fish and nuts) has been study-proven to help alleviate the winter doldrums. 
  3. Stay social: Surrounding yourself with positive people can have a positive impact on your mood. Similarly, doing a good deed for someone else, through volunteering, can make you happier and more confident as you weather the seasonal lows. 
  4. Make a mind-body connection: Yoga, meditation, acupuncture and massage have all been shown to decrease the symptoms of SAD, resulting in better sleep and less stress and anxiety. 
Holistic Healing at The Haven
We offer a variety of holistic treatment approaches, including acupuncture and massage and yoga and meditation to our clients. To learn more, call 805-202-3440.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Stay Well This Cold and Flu Season

The flu season is near its peak – and, if you haven’t already, your best protection is to get a flu shot. Being on the road to recovery is also a crucial step; addiction can do a number on your immune system. 

In addition, there are several simple (and needle-free) ways to boost your immunity and decrease your risk of getting sick this season. Start with these strategies. 
  • Skip processed foods. Junk food high in polyunsaturated fats tend to suppress the immune system and sugar inhibits phagocytosis, the process by which viruses and bacteria are engulfed and then literally chewed up by white blood cells, according to Prevention.com. Your best bet is to load up on nutrient dense foods full of antioxidants. Some options: dark, leafy greens, berries, salmon, and sweet potatoes.
  • Crack the windows. Letting the air in will help chase the germs out. This is especially important, since indoor air can be up to five times as polluted as outdoor air. 
  • Make sleep a priority. Sleep deprivation has been associated with poor immune function and reduced numbers of killer cells that fight germs. Aim for at least seven hours a night. 
  • Get moving. And yet another benefit of exercise: People who exercise in moderation report fewer colds, according to experts at American Council on Exercise. So what’s moderate? One study showed that people who take a moderate-intensity walk for 40 minutes per day had half as many sick days due to colds or sore throats as those who don’t exercise.
  • Don’t let laundry pile up. This isn’t the time to get lazy on your laundry. Aim to wash hand towels in hot water every three or four days during cold and flu season. 
Stay Well at The Haven
Addiction leads to poor habits and the general neglect of self-care. The Haven at Pismo offers fitness amenities, stress management therapies and nutritional counseling to help clients feel their best and stay healthy during rehab and beyond. To learn more, call: 805-202-3440.