Seeing that it’s April, I can’t figure out why there was frost on my lawn and I was dodging ice on the way to work this morning.
This final stretch of winter (snow tomorrow?!?) to spring to summer is sometimes the hardest for our moods. We’ve been cooped up indoors for months, deprived of social interaction and sunshine, and all we want to do is be done with winter! Whether you call it seasonal depression, the winter blues, melancholia, or what not, it seems to seep through the air and settle into all of our psyches here in the Midwest (and anywhere, frankly, with cold, harsh winters and few outdoor avenues to enjoy the seasonal change).
What to do? I believe, wholeheartedly, in letting the body heal itself whenever possible. My first thought isn’t usually medicine (though, believe me, I’ve got years of training to figure out what medicine we need if it comes down to that). I had been wrapping my head around the things that people need to settle the mind during these winter months and was excited to find that someone has already done a lot of research on the subject.
Even though he works and researches a mere 45 minutes down the road from me, I didn’t learn of Dr. Stephen Ilardi’s work until recently. Called Therapeutic Lifestyle Change, he has researched 6 elements that can contribute to improved mental health, none of which include taking a pharmaceutical.
His six elements that, when humming along in harmony, decrease anxiety and elevate mood are:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements
- Anti-Rumination Strategies
- (Sun)Light Exposure
- Social Support
- Sleep Hygiene
Each of these elements in discussed in greater detail in his various websites, YouTube channel, and Book. To learn more about the program, you can check out Therapeutic Lifestyle Change’s YouTube channel, buy Dr. Stephen Ilardi’s book (The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs) anywhere books are sold, or wander more through the Therapeutic Lifestyle Change’s website.
So what are you waiting for? Better weather? Don’t hold your breath — we’re in the Midwest and snow is forcasted for later this week. See what you can take from the elements above and start on your journey to better physical and mental health today — no prescription needed.
Allison Edwards, MD