The correlation between mood and the weather is not a new discovery, however in an interesting interview in this evenings 'All in the mind' on radio 4, John Sharp, a clinical psychiatrist at Harvard University surprised me when he stated that suicide levels peak in April with the changing seasons from Winter to Spring.
For most of us the increased sunshine and daylight hours brings on renewed energy and a positive mood however, whilst depression peaks from november to january, it is thought that the contrast of mood in those with depression compared to others becomes more apparent in the spring and it is this that causes the increase in suicide.
This was news to me, but makes me think that we should be paying more attention to our mood and health with every change of the seasons, rather than just focussing on the change into winter when there is an increased incidence of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) . In fact Mr Sharp also revealed the existence of reverse SAD, where sufferers feel depressed in the summer and have lower serotonin and dopamine levels in the summer months.
This just underlines how biochemically unique we all are which is why we need to listen to our bodies to look after our health. Have a think about which season you struggle with and prepare yourself in advance with supportive nutrition (protein and healthy fats are particularly important for mood) and supplements as necessary and reduce foods that can destabilize mood such as alcohol, sugar, caffeine and processed foods. It is also not the time to make radical dietary changes so hold off on your detox til spring has really taken hold. You can then make a smoother transition into the next season and avoid any sudden mood changes.
However, once the wintery weather is finally behind us I am sure I won't be alone in putting in an extra effort with my diet and exercise to get myself beach ready, and for this I will be coming up with a "Beachcamp' programme just as I did with my post christmas Bootcamp. But this time I'd like your input, so if there are any particular problems you'd like me to deal with specifically (bingo wings, man boobs, cellulite etc) or if you have any diet must haves or total turn offs (eg. you want a diet that let's you still eat pudding but you can't stand counting points or calories) let me know and I'll see if I can incorporate them.