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How to Keep Your Mental Health Stable During Daylight Savings

Shopify API March 22, 2022 No Comments
Keep your mental health stable during Daylight Savings by focusing on vitamin D, healthy food, exercise, and a daily routine – these techniques can make March easier.
Man with depression

March 2022. This article is independently written by Shelby Golding. All opinions given are hers. Shelby has been certified as a personal trainer and nutritional specialist since 2007. In 2008, she found her passion for writing about these topics and hasn't looked back.

Man with depression

March is a hopeful month. The end of winter is finally in sight and warmer days, sunshine, and spring are all right around the corner. But then Daylight Savings arrives in the second week. Then, suddenly, we find ourselves entirely thrown out of whack.
 
The shift is so dramatic that scientists can see the effects. In the week after Daylight Savings, deadly car accidents increase 6%. The Monday after the switch, hospitals see a 24% increase in heart attack visits. So, no, it isn’t your imagination that the week following Daylight Savings is a struggle. The time shift messes with our mental health.
 
Thankfully, keeping your mental health stable during Daylight Savings is entirely possible with a few simple lifestyle changes.

How to Keep Your Mental Health Stable During Daylight Savings

As mid-March approaches, shift your focus to self-care with these mental healthcare practices perfect for the last few weeks of winter.

1. Get Enough Vitamin D


One of the easiest ways to treat seasonal depression is to spend time outside. From late March to the end of September, our bodies respond to the UVB rays in sunlight by creating vitamin D, the sunshine chemical that regulates mood and decreases a person's risk of developing depression.
 
Natural vitamin D is hard to come by from October to early March. While there is no perfect substitute for sunshine, vitamin D supplements and light therapy have been shown to help with depression during the weeks surrounding Daylight Savings.
 
Light therapy involves a S.A.D. light (S.A.D. = Seasonal Affective Disorder) which is thought to reduce melatonin production while increasing the production of serotonin. It supports a healthy sleep schedule and keeps your mood relatively even. Simply spend 30 minutes to an hour in front of your light every day for the best effect.

2. Eat Healthy

Studies show a clear link between an unhealthy diet and poor mental health. An inadequate diet filled with processed foods, red meat, refined grains, sweets, high dairy products, butter, potatoes is associated with an increased risk of depression.

An unhealthy diet is linked to many issues, including an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, and cancer. But people don't often think about how our diet affects our brain. Yet, the gut-brain connection is an important consideration for any whose mental health is suffering.

The part of our brain involved in memory, learning, and mental health- called the hippocampus- is highly sensitive to the human stress response. Prolonged exposure to negative thoughts and emotions shrinks the hippocampus. A shrunken hippocampus is often found in people with depression and chronic stress. A healthy hippocampus also relies on our diet. People who eat a healthy mix of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have a larger hippocampus and are less likely to suffer from mental health issues.
 
Also, 95% of the body's serotonin is made in the gastrointestinal tract. Serotonin is a mood stabilizer present in most over-the-counter mental health treatments. Therefore, a healthy gut means healthy emotions.

3. Exercise

People Exercising

Whether you decide to swim, walk, hike, do yoga, garden, dance, or go to the gym, moving your body is a great way to keep your mental health stable during Daylight Savings.

Exercise is an often neglected treatment in mental health care. Common mental health problems such as O.C.D., PTSD, depression, and panic disorder are all improved by exercise. Exercise releases endorphins into the body. Endorphins are chemicals released when we are stressed or in pain. They also initiate a feeling of overall wellbeing and stabilize our mental health.

Often mental health issues like depression and anxiety are accompanied by physical pain. Exercise is proven to relieve the physical symptoms of depression and anxiety. It also gets your mind off the obsessive thoughts often associated with mental health disorders.

 4. Stick to a Routine

Sticking to a routine is easier said than done during Daylight Savings. The abrupt shift of the clocks severely throws off the body’s sleep schedule and circadian rhythm. Our circadian rhythm is the natural cycle of wake-sleep that works in the background to carry out essential functions and processes.
 
When the clocks "spring forward" in March, our daily exposure to sunlight is disrupted, which throws off our circadian rhythm. To keep your circadian rhythm from being interrupted, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that you adjust your schedule gradually. For example, go to bed 15-20 minutes earlier each day in the week leading up to Daylight Savings. Start eating dinner an hour earlier and shift your pet and kid's meal schedule simultaneously.
 
Routines also help people with mental health problems to focus on their priorities. Having a consistent routine for getting up, eating breakfast, exercising, then heading to work keeps you focused, which adds up over time to create mental and emotional stability. A solid daily routine will also help you in times of severe stress due to negative life events or health issues.

Build Mental Health Habits

In the same way, you build a strong body with regular physical activity and exercise, you build up your mental health with healthy habits. These four self-care mental health practices will change your life. But introducing them to your day might seem impossible at first.
 
Start small if you are intimidated or do not know where to begin. For example, add a vitamin D supplement or replace one unhealthy food with your favorite fruit or vegetable. Go for a walk for 20 minutes in the morning and set an alarm to remind yourself it's your bedtime.
 
It takes approximately 66 days for a new habit to be automatic, so set yourself small reminders in the beginning and congratulate yourself for small accomplishments. Healthy habits are not built in a day, but your overall mental health is worth the extra effort. Not only during Daylight Savings but all year long.
 
And don’t forget to use your Kailo pain patch to manage any chronic pain symptoms that may be making your days more difficult. The Kailo patch is designed to relieve pain in seconds, and a recent clinical study showed Kailo is more effective than other prescription and over-the-counter medications, with no side effects! Get yours today.
 
Disclaimer: Kailo should not be used if you have a pacemaker or if you are pregnant. Always consult your doctor or health care professional before using Kailo.

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