The holidays are bearing down on us, and while this is a wonderful time of year for a good segment of the population, there are a lot of folks who find it difficult to cope with the hustle and bustle.

During the month of December, many people run around trying to do too much, spending more money than they should. The stress can start to take its toll!

For a lot of people, depression creeps in around the same time as the holidays. Maybe because of the stress of the holidays, maybe because the holidays aren’t particularly joyous for some reason or other or maybe because there isn’t as much sunlight as we need to get our feel good hormones. (This lack of sunlight leads to something called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and affects roughly 5% of Americans.)

Now, if you’re feeling depressed, I would suggest you make an appointment with your doctor. Depending on the state of mind you’re in, you may be prescribed vitamin therapy, counseling and/or some sort of pharmaceuticals to help you out a bit.

When you’re feeling sad, it’s natural to reach for sugary foods that tell our brains we’re happy, but of course that’s not a great strategy, because once that “sugar rush” wears off, you end up feeling worse than you did before.

There are some foods you can start adding to your diet in the meantime that are known for their feel good effect on the body. Heck, whether you’re feeling blue or not, we could all use a pick-me-up, am I right?

The following tips may help you feel a little bit happier:

  • Ensure every meal contains complex carb-rich foods. Complex carbs perk up your brain’s energy center. Reach for healthy sources of carbs like squash, dark leafy greens, blueberries and dark-colored fruits. Make sure every meal has extra servings of these good sources of carbs.
  • Increase your intake of Vitamin B6. Low levels of Vitamin B6 may cause mild depression. Eat lots of fish, bananas, chicken, dark green veggies, and avocado to boost up your intake.
  • Eat two servings of folic-acid rich foods per day. Folate (folic acid) is also important to get more of when you’re feeling blue. Pile your plate high with broccoli, spinach or chard.
  • Eat fish. Mackerel contains fabulous acids that can elevate your mood.
  • Add Greek yogurt to your daily diet. The amino acids in yogurt help to regulate your stress hormones. But don’t eat the sweetened stuff! Plain only!

In addition to these dietary suggestions, you might also want to add some exercise to your daily routine. The world always looks a little bit better after a walk in the fresh air.

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