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Autumn Blues: How to Escape the Permanent Jetlag

 

What about the jogging date after work? Much too tired. An after-work drink with your colleagues? No thanks – not in this horrible weather. Strange. Not long ago, during the fabulous Indian summer, you often managed to ride your bike to the lake and go for a swim in the evening. Does our biological clock tick differently in autumn, or are we off our rockers?

Autumn blues or winter depression? What is the matter with me?

I guess autumn is simply not my season. I’m presumably suffering from the autumn blues. Doesn’t sound quite as dramatic as winter depression or SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Oh, I’ve found something even better on google: winter tiredness. That’s it! Sounds – ok, understandable. 

Many expressions have meanwhile become established for these symptoms. And the symptoms are always the same: depressed mood, reduced performance, irritability and concentration problems, an increased need for sleep with morning tiredness, and cravings for sweet things and carbohydrates – the answer of 22 percent of the Austrian population to the colder season.
But what the autumn blues, the November blues and SAD also all have in common is their cause.

Does lack of light make you sad?

You don’t need to study biochemistry to know that sunlight somehow makes us happy. At dusk, on the other hand, we usually get sleepy and tired. These processes are associated with our neurotransmitters. As we all know, there is less sunshine and more darkness in autumn. The biochemical cause of the autumn blues is therefore an imbalance of our neurotransmitters. People who are affected often lack the ability, especially in autumn, to produce certain neurotransmitters such as the happiness hormone serotonin in sufficient quantity. How come? Simply due to reduced sunlight impulses. However, the production of our happiness hormones also depends on certain micronutrients, and if we don’t get these we become irritable, tired and on edge.

Good mood instead of hibernation
What do the experts advise?

1. Stop snoozing

People who suffer from winter tiredness are quick to use the snooze button and let the alarm clock ring again in ten minutes. But snoozing also means you keep getting a rude awakening. You are still no more relaxed after ten minutes. It’s better to set the alarm for a few minutes later and then get up right away.

2. Start jogging

Instead of lounging on the couch when you feel lethargic and tired, you should go and get exercise. Go jogging, cycling or swimming and drive out the tired spirits.

3. Surprise yourself

Modern neurologists advise melancholy people to try out new activities, so “surprise” themselves, so to speak. Why? Because a change in our lifestyle habits is a learning process for us. And because this learning process results in the production of so-called learning hormones. And these learning hormones are identical to our happiness hormones serotonin and dopamine.

4. Fit snacking

Nuts, sunflower seeds and cereal grains have something in common: L-tryptophane. That is the substance that produces a good mood. Nuts, wholegrain cereals, and also potatoes contain plenty of magnesium and support the work of the heart, muscles and brain. Our body does not tire so quickly and our endurance is improved.

5. Fill up the B vitamin and zinc rucksacks

Magnesium alone won’t make us happy slappy, because in addition to magnesium the brain also needs all the B vitamins and zinc in order to convert L-tryptophane into neurotransmitters. Cereal germs (e.g. wheat or barley germs), wholegrain cereals, unhusked rice, animal entrails (especially liver) as well as the South American pseudo-cereals quinoa and amaranth are considered to be particularly rich in B vitamins. The daily zinc demand can be covered by eating cereal germs (rye germs, wheat germs), calf liver, egg yolk, cocoa, sunflower seeds, oat flakes or paranuts.

Enlightenment relaxes: Simply the knowledge that our joie de vivre does not depend on daylight alone and we decide for ourselves how we are feeling can make us happy.

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