Does the arrival of spring leave you feeling low? You’re not alone. While many eagerly await the warmth of spring after a long, cold winter, others find themselves struggling with a sudden sense of lethargy. It’s a sensation experienced around the world – for example, 50-75% of Germans have reportedly felt its effect.
If you’re too exhausted to even think about spring cleaning or getting out and enjoying the beauty of the season, you may be experiencing spring fatigue disorder.
So what exactly is this condition? As the name suggests, spring fatigue disorder is primarily characterised by feeling tired in the spring – a lack of energy that persists no matter how much sleep a person gets. Other symptoms of spring fatigue disorder include depression, irritability and moodiness. Physical complaints like headaches, dizziness and joint soreness may also be present.
Although it’s not entirely clear what causes spring fatigue disorder, many experts believe that hormones play a role. As the days grow longer and brighter, your body senses the change and adjusts hormone production accordingly. Levels of the sleep hormone melatonin decrease, while those of hormones related to activity (like endorphins) go up. This change can be taxing on the body, and the difficulty that some people have adapting to the hormonal shift has been associated with spring fatigue disorder.
Regardless of what’s behind it, this disorder can take its toll on your quality of life, making even the most basic tasks difficult to accomplish. Luckily, there are steps you can take to safely and naturally manage your spring fatigue disorder symptoms. Here are four ways to manage spring fatigue disorder.
Adjust your diet
Food can be excellent medicine when it comes to relieving spring fatigue disorder symptoms. Eating a diet full of whole, nutrient-rich foods can give your body the lift it needs, boosting your energy levels and elevating your mood. These foods in have been shown to be particularly uplifting:
- Salmon and other fatty fish are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to improve symptoms of depression.
- Leafy greens, leguminous plants and wholegrain foods are packed with magnesium, a mineral that can increase your levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin.
- Cashews contain zinc, another mineral that has been shown to help alleviate symptoms of depression.
Blueberries are a superior source of antioxidants that protect your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, and their consumption is associated with improved mood and cognition. Further, they are low in sugar and contain anti-inflammatory properties!
In addition to getting mood-lifting nutrients through food, taking the right supplements can be another effective tool to help you manage spring fatigue disorder. A few to consider:
It’s not just your gut that benefits when you supplement your diet with good bacteria. One systematic review found that people who took probiotics experienced improved perceived levels of stress and a more positive mental outlook.
This natural nutritional supplement by Make Well contains lactobacteria, CoenzymeQ10 and other ingredients chosen to support and energise the body.
Specially formulated by Make Well to support your cells’ mitochondria, Mito Plus can help maintain the metabolism of energy in the body.
It can be incredibly difficult to find the strength for exercise when you’re dealing with spring fatigue disorder. But if you can muster the motivation, you’ll likely find yourself feeling happier and more energetic afterwards. And you don’t need to run a marathon in order to feel the ‘runner’s high’ associated with physical activity. Even moderate exercise has been shown to improve mood, and the effects are usually immediate.
If the idea of working out is too daunting, try gradually adding physical movement into your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk around the block during your lunch break instead of staring at your computer or playing around on your phone. You may be surprised by how good these little bursts of activity make you feel.
More and more research is indicating that merely spending time surrounded by greenery can lift your spirits. There’s even a healing practice known as ‘forest bathing’ that involves simply walking slowly and mindfully through the woods, and it has been shown to improve mood and increase energy levels (among other benefits).
But just like you don’t need to run a marathon to reap the mood-boosting effects of exercise, you don’t need to spend an entire day wandering through the forest to feel the healing power of nature. According to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, spending just 20 minutes hanging out in a park or other green space – even if that time is spent doing nothing more than sitting on a bench – can make the average person happier.
Spring fatigue disorder is a very real concern, but it can be managed. Try incorporating these four suggestions into your routine, and you may find yourself with a new and welcome ‘spring’ in your step.
Feeling like you’re constantly tired? Most people are so busy with their day-to-day lives, they can end up feeling like they’re running on fumes a lot of the time. Well, instead of chugging down another espresso or energy drink, there are some better options that will actually help your body have more energy and feel less run-down – without added caffeine or unhealthy ingredients. Plus, if you’re struggling with a chronic illness (such as Lyme disease), you’ll need all the help you can get to keep your body functioning at its best. So, here’s some info on how you can naturally boost energy levels.
The first thing to remember when you’re running out of gas: scarfing down lots of empty carbohydrates (chips, pretzels, candy, etc.) will get you nowhere. Sure, these foods can give you a quick boost since they increase serotonin in your brain, but they’ll eventually cause your blood sugar to spike – meaning your brief high will result in a crash. Also, that drop in blood sugar will only trick your body into thinking you need more of those same exact foods, as unhealthy as they might be. Instead, consider incorporating healthier snacks that are full of protein, fibre and complex carbs into your diet. These foods will release their positive effects slowly into your bloodstream, so you’ll have fuel for longer (and no nasty crash at the end!).
Here are eight ideas for foods that can kick your energy up a notch.
Nuts in general are a great snack, and almonds are considered a ‘superfood’ for a reason. They contain healthy nutrients like magnesium, vitamins B and E and iron, which can increase your energy and lessen that pesky tired feeling. Nuts are also often high in omega-3 and omega-6, showing beneficial ratios of both. Plus, they contain carbs and fibre, so you’ll experience a steady energy boost. One serving (about 23 nuts) is enough to give you extra energy while still keeping your calories at a reasonable level.
Pick up a banana for a snack that gives you a healthy dose of carbs, fibre, vitamin B6 and potassium – all of which can increase your energy. There’s even a study showing that eating a banana before a cycling race was as effective in terms of endurance as drinking a carbohydrate drink. So snack on a banana before your next workout (or when you just need a pick-me-up), and you’ll see an increase in your energy levels.
Skip the toast or cereal, and start your morning off with yoghurt – a food that can fuel you for the whole day. The carbs in yoghurt are simple sugars (like lactose and galactose), so when these break down, they offer energy to your system. Plus, since yoghurt has lots of protein, the energy release is slow and steady. Even more impressive is the fact that yoghurt has large doses of vitamins B2 and B12, which help form the molecule ATP – your cells then use that for fuel. Just make sure when you’re buying your yoghurt that you stick with plain or Greek varieties to avoid additives and extra sugar. If possible, delicious yoghurt can even easily be made at home!
Beans are a great way to introduce energy boosters into your meals. They’re good sources of carbs, fibre and protein, and because they’re digested slowly, they can help give you stable blood sugar levels and more energy. They also typically contain antioxidants that boost energy levels and reduce inflammation. For added sources of folic acid, iron and manganese, try adding black beans or black-eyed peas into your diet to improve energy levels.
Add a little Mediterranean flair into your diet with a healthy serving of hummus. Made from pureed garbanzo beans, tahini, olive oil and lemon juice, this dip has a perfect blend of fibre and protein, which stabilises your blood sugar and elevates your energy levels. You can pair it with good-for-you veggies for an easy snack, or use it as a sandwich spread in lieu of fatty condiments like mayonnaise.
Leafy Green Vegetables
When your parents told you to eat your veggies, they knew what they were talking about. Leafy green vegetables such as spinach or kale are high in iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Along with folic acid, fibre and antioxidants, they can help fuel your body in many different ways. Kale even has the amino acid L-tyrosine, which can give you a mental boost. Try sauteeing these veggies as a side dish, adding them to soups, or including them in a pasta dish to get all of their benefits in your diet.
You’ve probably been hearing more about quinoa these days, as it’s starting to become a more popular pantry staple. Quinoa is a tasty, ancient pseudo-grain and has been used in South America for centuries. It has a high protein count, as well as lots of fibre. Additionally, it’s high in carbs but has a low glycaemic index, which means the carbs are absorbed slowly for a steady energy release. On top of that, quinoa also has manganese, magnesium and folate – nutrients that all help your body naturally boost energy levels.
If you’re not in the mood for eating, green tea is an ideal beverage choice to help fuel you, minus the unhealthy ingredients found in sodas or energy drinks. Green tea does contain caffeine, but it also has L-theanine, which can help soften its effects, so you’ll have a more even (and less jittery) boost of energy. The drink can also lessen fatigue by encouraging the breakdown of fat and releasing the hormone norepinephrine, which can give your system a boost. Just stick to a cup or two to make sure you’re not amping up your system too much.
There’s a whole host of other foods that can bring your energy levels up, including everything from oatmeal and dark chocolate to eggs and sweet potatoes. Just try to be more thoughtful about what you’re putting in your body – steer clear of foods that will only make you crash later! – and add more healthy foods into your diet to naturally boost energy levels.
As the temperature heats up and tick season descends, many people are wondering how best to avoid being bitten by these small but dangerous insects. They are known carriers of a host of diseases, many of which can be passed on to humans through the bloodstream. The most notorious of these contagious conditions is undoubtedly Lyme Disease, a sinister, dangerous and somewhat misunderstood disorder that infects hundreds of thousands of people across the world every year. If left unchecked, Lyme can be extremely debilitating, and becomes much harder to treat in its later stages as it entrenches itself further and further in the sufferer’s system.
At Make Well, we aim to ease the suffering of Lyme patients. Through continued study and understanding of the disorder, we’ve produced a diverse range of effective products that can help reduce the many varied symptoms. But infection starts at the source; when it comes to preventing and treating Lyme, the best method is avoiding being bitten by a tick, and if you are bitten and recognise symptoms, seek treatment immediately.
The disease is caused by the Borrelia genus of bacteria, carried by the black-legged tick, or deer tick in the U.S., and the sheep tick or castor bean tick in Europe. The insect must be attached to the skin and feeding actively on the blood. Being aware of what kind of activities and locations result in tick bites can help you stay safe from this debilitating disorder, as you can take precautions before and check thoroughly afterwards. With that in mind, here are five ways you can easily get bitten by a tick.
1 – Long Grass
Ticks often reside in long grass; walking through this type of terrain can easily result in a tick bite. Ticks cannot fly or jump, but once they find a suitable piece of grass, they assume a position known as ‘questing’, which involves holding on to the grass with their third and fourth legs, leaving their front two outstretched, waiting to catch hold of an unsuspecting host.
2 – Pets
Your pets are likely to spend much more time in the outdoors than you do, and are therefore much more likely to be bitten by a tick. This is particularly true if you happen to live in a rural area. Cats are especially prone to ticks as they love stalking through tall grass, and are usually just the right size to for a tick to hop on to. Pets will unknowingly bring the ticks back into the house, which can then cause a risk for all the occupants within. Your vet is probably the best person to talk to about preventing ticks on your cat or dog, but also make sure to check your furry friend every now and again, especially in and around the ears and neck area. Ticks can be a little easier to spot on cats than on some breeds of dogs, who may require a more thorough going-over.
3 – Children
Similarly to pets, children love to run and play in long grass, and will often spend a whole day exploring the outdoors. Often, especially if they’re young children, parents will be with them at all times; but even with adult supervision, kids are still prone to being bitten by ticks. The main priority is of course to ensure your kids don’t become infected with Lyme in the first place. Therefore, it pays doubly to check your children thoroughly after they come in from a day outside, and to shower and wash them all over.
4 – Woody Areas
Moist, humid areas are paradise for ticks; if you plan on hiking through woodland areas, make sure you’re aware of the risk of tick bites. Wood and leaf piles can also be a haven for ticks, so make sure they’re kept well away from the house, and take care when walking through them, or moving them. Any outdoor activity carries a certain degree of risk when it comes to being bitten by ticks, but being aware of this means you can thoroughly check yourself when you come home, and decrease your risk of Lyme infection to zero.
5 – Wearing Short-Length Clothing
Shorts and T-shirts provide ample opportunity for ticks to attach themselves to you. Once they’re on your body, they’ll usually spend a few hours manouvering themselves around to find the perfect spot to bite, which is most commonly a moist, dark area such as the armpits or groin. Just because your arms and legs look clean when you get back indoors, it doesn’t mean you haven’t encountered a tick! Take care to check your body thoroughly if you’ve been outside for the day; you can also lessen your exposure potential by wearing long-sleeved/legged clothing and something to cover your head. It’s also a good idea to tuck trouser legs into your socks and to wear white or bright clothing, which makes it easier to spot a tick crawling on you.
Remember that the best treatment for Lyme Disease is prevention; by knowing how you, your family and pets become exposed to ticks, you can take measures to prevent a bite, or at the very least prolonged exposure.