Coming out of the second lockdown in England, with mixed feelings about the weeks ahead, I wonder how everyone is managing their way through these winter months, especially the dark evenings.
We were extremely lucky in the first lockdown to experience some really good periods of weather here in the UK. Many of us, myself included really didn’t want to think about another lockdown with the dark winter evenings drawing in. It doesn’t seem to make any difference how old I get, the dark evenings each Autumn don’t get any easier. With the continued work/social restrictions in place, and limited daylight hours I knew I would have to try even harder to manage my mental health.
As many of you will know if you’ve read any of my posts, or follow me on social media I am a massive lover of food, and fully believe in the connection between physical and mental health. A couple of years ago I studied nutrition for a short time in Brighton. I took away a lot from that course, but one thing in particular stood out, the effects of Vitamin D. This has recently come to the forefront of health discussions surrounding Covid, with a roll out now planned for the most at risk in society. Historically, I’ve never been one to routinely take vitamins, but during the nutrition course I became more curious to know which vitamin, if any, would be recommended as a general supplement. I was quite surprised at the response I received from the Nutritionist, as it was Vitamin D.
According to many studies a large proportion of the population are Vitamin D deficient. Apart from the many health benefits that vitamin D brings, such as including healthy bones, teeth and muscles. A lack of it can lead to a bone deformity illness called rickets in children, and a similar bone weakness condition called osteomalacia in adults, as well as weakness in bones which can lead to osteoporosis, something which I’m very aware of as my mum has been diagnosed with it. What I’m also particularly interested in are the links between Vitamin D and mental health, as there have been numerous studies that show low levels of vitamin D were linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety.
Since understanding more about the benefits and our deficiencies, I have been taking a Vitamin D supplement between the months of October and March. To support myself through the winter months of Covid and the ongoing restrictions, I have tweaked my days so I can focus on getting outside when ever I can. It may sound a little over the top for many of you, but I’ve even created a weekly schedule, as I know that if I don’t give proper consideration or thought it will be all to easy to work at home all day, not seeing anyone or any day light. By being more mindful of these early dark evenings and the changes I have made, I hope I have the tools to continue to support my health and wellbeing during this time.
Perhaps, you’ve decided to start taking a vitamin supplement (please take medical advice first), or made small changes to your routine to support yourself through these winter months. What ever works for you, I hope you’re able to wrap up warm and get out and enjoy the crisp winter days and are taking good care of yourselves.
Spring is my favourite season and I personally can’t wait to see a new chapter begin!