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How to fight the end-of-the-year blues and improve health

By Kieran Sequoia, wellness advocate

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Editor's Note: Kieran Sequoia is a Native American, Mexican, French and Deutsch actor, producer and self-proclaimed happiness junkie living in New York City. She will periodically write blog posts about health and wellness for the Tanka website.

When I was younger, I was always very excited for autumn but noticed that everything seemed to be a little more "sensitive" as the season went from hot and sunny to crisp and cool. I felt happy but as autumn moved to winter there were always days that caught me off guard. I was more irritable, more sensitive and less motivated. Those feelings of autumn/winter blues became more and more pronounced when I moved to New York City and experienced far fewer sunny days.

In the past, whenever I had felt unmotivated, the first things I stopped doing were (ironically) the very things that would help me feel better. These little seasonal ups and downs that I had experienced throughout my life were recently identified as SAD or seasonal affective disorder. In short, some people respond more significantly to changes in light as the seasons move from summer into autumn and winter and as a result experience more significant mood swings and varying degrees of depression.

The traditional Western approach to treating these ups and downs is anti-depressants and light box therapy . My moods were noticeable yes, but I had lived with them all this time. I didn't want to medicate myself. So I started researching alternatives to mood stabilizing drugs. So, this year when my moods set in, I set off to exercise. Exercising when you don't feel like it has got to be one of the most excoriating experiences available (until you are doing it and then it's smooth sailing). As unmotivated as I was there was something in me that told me if I continued to exercise I would feel better.

Day by day, little by little, I did feel better and then one day I didn't. What was going on? I thought I had fixed myself. If I was extra moody and extra irritable I was determined to find a solution that was within my control. I read articles, asked people I knew who suffered from depression and mood swings and all sorts of ailments what they did to try to heal themselves and the common thread (although all very different) was diet. Diet? I knew that I needed to eat a certain amount to keep my body running. I knew what foods I was allergic to. I thought I knew everything I needed to about feeding myself until I looked up "diet for depression" on the internet.

It turns out that there is a whole science and theory about food and how it affects mood. Diet can be used to adjust moderate mood swings like mine but I also found significant information and legitimate medical research about diets that were used to treat bi-polar disorders, autism, epilepsy, attention deficit disorders and even psychosis. My mind was reeling, if diet was a documented viable alternative treatment to so many widely medicated mood disorders why didn't I know more people who implemented diets that could heal them?

So I kept exercising and with the help of a book called Ultra Mind Solution, I have started practicing mindful eating for mood stabilization. A lot of it is common sense. If you have problems stabilizing your mood don't eat foods that alter your mood; primarily: caffeine, processed sugars and alcohol. I can't say that it has been easy but to me controlling my moods through diet and physical well-being is worth the effort when compared to taking anti-depressants. Our bodies are powerful machines and often they do exactly what we ask of them. If you want more from yourself, ask yourself for more!

As I write this blog I am sitting between meals with a spicy Tanka stick in my hand. In the midst of allergy diagnosis, fitness fads, mood stabilization diets and a finicky tummy on top of it all, I have always been able to eat Tanka products. To me that says they are from the earth for its people and that's me! I am always grateful that Tanka makes the cut.

NOTE: If you feel irritable, upset or unlike yourself emotionally, it is important to consult with your doctor and/or mental health care provider before deciding that your best care is within your own ability. This article is meant as a personal experience story not as an alternative to medical care.



Mayo Clinic Online. March 9, 2013

Harvard Health Publications. "Understanding Depression" "Principles That Identify Orthormolecular Medicine: A Unique Medical Specialty"

Functional Medicine + Ultramind Solution

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