Beat the Winter Blues: 7 Self-Help Tips to Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder | The Health Sessions

Seasonal Affective Disorder: 7 Self-Help Tips to Beat the Winter Blues

Do you start to feel down, sluggish and carb-hungry as soon as the days are getting shorter?

This time of year, when it’s cold and dark outside, can trigger the winter blues in many people. It’s no wonder the third Monday of January was dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ by the travel world to promote trips to exotic destinations.

Seasonal changes, especially a lack of daylight, can disrupt your biological clock. Your internal clock regulates countless of bodily functions, including your sleep-wake cycle, alertness and energy levels, and your mood.

In around 5% of people living in northern latitudes, these changes in circadian rhythm contribute to feelings of depression. These recurring depressive episodes in autumn and winter are called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Just like a ‘regular’ depression, seasonal affective disorder is characterized by a depressed mood, loss of interest in activities, withdrawal from social interactions and problems with sleeping and appetite. Symptoms like oversleeping and craving carbohydrate-rich foods are characteristic for winter seasonal affective disorder.

According to the American Psychological Association, January and February are the most difficult months for people affected by seasonal affective disorder. If escaping to a tropical island isn’t an option, what can you do to beat the winter blues?

Take a look at these 7 ways to ease your seasonal affective disorder and brighten your mood this winter.

Disclaimer: Always seek help from your doctor, psychologist or other medical professionals when you struggle with severe depression and/or have suicidal thoughts! 

Read more >Seasonal Affective Disorder: 7 Self-Help Tips to Beat the Winter Blues



How to Deal with Fatigue When Suffering from Chronic Illness | The Health Sessions

How to Deal with Fatigue When Suffering from Chronic Illness

This article is written by Selena Thomas. 

Many people do not know that there is a difference between tiredness and fatigue, mostly because they were lucky enough never to experience real fatigue. However, people who suffer from various chronic illnesses usually say that fatigue is the most annoying symptom of their condition. Since fatigue can seriously impair someone’s quality of life, today we are going to discuss it and see what can we do to cope better with it.

Read more >How to Deal with Fatigue When Suffering from Chronic Illness



How to Sleep Well with a Chronic Illness | The Health Sessions

How to Sleep Well with a Chronic Illness

This article is written by Danielle B Roberts. 

According to the National Health Council, 157 million Americans will be living with at least one chronic illness. An illness is considered to be chronic if the duration is three months or longer. Some examples of common chronic illnesses are diabetes, heart disease, endometriosis, lupus, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

Due to the pain and restlessness caused by chronic illnesses, many people who have a chronic illness also suffer from insomnia. About 60 million Americans suffer from insomnia. Insomnia too can be a chronic condition.

You are considered to have insomnia if you have or do any of the following:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Coming in and out of sleep in the middle of the night
  • Waking up earlier than expected
  • Fatigue during the day
  • The feeling of being unrefreshed when you wake up
  • Difficulty focusing and remembering

These are just a few of the symptoms one can experience from insomnia. Insomnia can bring on its own battles as well. Insomnia can cause you to have anxiety, depression, mood swings, and more. If you have a chronic illness, here are some things to try to help your insomnia.

Read more >How to Sleep Well with a Chronic Illness



9 Coffee Alternatives to Try If You're Cutting Back on Caffeine | The Health Sessions

9 Coffee Alternatives to Try If You’re Cutting Back on Caffeine

Does drinking (too much) coffee make you jittery, anxious or makes it harder to fall asleep? You’re not alone.

There’s a lot of conflicting evidence about coffee. Some research states that a moderate caffeine consumption may actually be good for you, while other studies found adverse side-effects of excess caffeine, like insomnia, anxiety and heart palpations.

One of the explanations for these mixed results may lie in your genes. Thanks to genetic variations, some people produce a less active version of the enzyme responsible for metabolizing caffeine than others. If that’s the case, caffeine will stay in your body and brain for a longer period of time. As a result, the physiological effects of caffeine will be more pronounced. That’s why slow-metabolizers experience are more sensitive to consuming caffeine than fast-metabolizers.

And of course, things like your liver health, use of oral contraceptives or being pregnant also play a role in caffeine sensitivity. 

Whatever your reasons for wanting to cut back on caffeine, you can still wake up to a warming, energizing drink. Try these 9 coffee alternatives to start your day off with a bang. 

Read more >9 Coffee Alternatives to Try If You’re Cutting Back on Caffeine



8 Natural Ways to Optimize Your Immunity | The Health Sessions

8 Natural Ways to Optimize Your Immunity

Your immune system works around the clock to ward off bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes it fails: a germ slips through your defense systems and you get sick.

Or worse: in reaction to an unknown trigger, the body sometimes produces antibodies that mistakenly attack its own tissues. This type of overactive immune reaction is what happens in auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and lupus.

Although scientifically speaking “boosting your immunity” makes little sense, common habits like chronic stress, a fast food diet and sleep deprivation are known to decrease your body’s ability to fight off foreign invaders. So what can you do to keep your immune system strong – besides washing your hands and practicing good cooking hygiene?

Of course you can’t always prevent getting sick. But a healthy lifestyle does support the functioning of your immune system, keeping your defenses up and running as good as possible.

Have a look at these 8 natural ways to optimize your immunity and fight off the flu. 

Read more >8 Natural Ways to Optimize Your Immunity