Asthenia : noun as·the·nia \as-ˈthē-nē-ə\ : A condition usually occurring with seasonal changes, characterized by feeling both physical and mental fatigue with a lack of interest and vitality as well as somnolence, insomnia and headaches.
Since I suffer from Spring Asthenia I decided to write a post on this seasonal “disorder” and how to fight it even if it’s purely mental and it really goes away after some weeks. Many people have experienced changes in the body and mind when the good weather starts to make an appearance. Yes we are delighted sunny and warm days are finally here but why is it that we have some imbalance when it comes to sleep, mood and energy? I have always (sorry for those born in March-April) hated spring and although I don’t suffer from any allergy, I turn into a different person during these days. Some friends have noticed so over the years and I hope they don’t get me wrong, no I am not b* and hate the sun OR them but I do need to work on the vitamins and tips to overcome the astenia so I can be both physically and mentally present in their conversations.
- lack of energy
- mood swings
- low blood pressure
- regular/constant feelings of apathy
Asthenia is more common among women aged between 20 and 40. Its reasons are diverse but mainly due changing of the season, when the body fails to adapt to the environmental changes. Used to cold weather and diets lacking certain nutrients, now having more light during the day, pollen all around, temperature changes and time setting is quite shocking for the body and mind. That may result in emotional stress, worries, tiredness, etc. which is usual during the first weeks of spring, and will go away after some weeks. WHAT TO DO TO
It doesn’t go away but it helps feeling better and making the body adapt faster to the new weather and schedules, so apart from a list of food I should add to my weekly eating habits, there's also three basics I should start doing right now:
- walking outdoors instead of getting inside the gym. It activates serotonin (a substance related to the state of mind). Instead of making it to the gym regularly, I find myself coming up with excuses, sometimes not even that –“I am so not going today”- so I guess I will try walking around until my knee makes some noise again.
- a diet rich in vitamins, avoiding sugar (sweets) and coffee. Switching coffee for green tea and adding more seasonal vegetables and fruits, although it is hard to fight the chocolate cravings.
- setting your mind and body to sleep earlier, trying to trick your body and mind into thinking it's bed time, even if it's too early, in order to make sure you end up sleeping 7-8h.
FOODS TO FIGHT SPRING ASTHENIA
- Pumpkin seeds: because you may have a deficiency in magnesium. It may be the reason I feel tired and bored after only 20-30 min of working out. That means the body needs more oxygen during the physical activity and pumpkin seeds can help boosting energy levels.
- Whole grains: their carbohydrates are essential, the body digests them slowly so that it keeps blood sugar values at a normal pace.
- Nuts: necessary fatty acids. These fats are healthy ones and can relieve symptoms of mental fatigue and apathy.
- Dark chocolate: to show an increase in energy and better mood thanks to the polyphenols in dark chocolate, which increase serotonin in the brain.
- Tea: combined with caffeine the amino acid improves the cognitive function than just a morning coffee.
- Watermelon: apart from dehydrating, this is a source of vitamin C, iron and potassium (also found in bananas which are better to carry on your bag or work).
Starting tomorrow of course (today was a super cheat day- full of chocolates and thousands of coffees) and hoping the weather gets better in Barcelona, I plan to ease this thing up and start walking more outdoors enjoying the sun with my iPod on (RW much?) instead of closing myself in the gym getting sleepy and sweaty after only 30min. of exercise. My mind and body will soon adapt into the new temperature and time changes and hopefully my friends won't be asking themselves "what's up with this cranky antisocial b*!? lol).