The national alliance on mental illness reports approximately 24% of adults report the holidays making their depression or mental illness worse while 40% note it makes their condition somewhat worse.

That’s a significant amount of people!

Why are some affected more than others?

In my opinion, post holiday blues are a combination of…

  • dopamine production in the body
  • light exposure (seasonal affective disorder)
  • getting some time off work or more relaxed schedule (for most)
  • vitamin D levels
  • vitamin B6 levels
  • iron, folate, B12 levels
  • niacin (vitamin B3) levels 
  • vitamin C levels
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The holidays come with a lot of dopamine hits…

  • shopping
  • sugar
  • savory foods
  • family and friend time
  • hugs and kind words

When the foot ball game ends on the 1st, the brain senses the “party’s over” and the dopamine start to decline.

Dopamine is called the “pleasure or motivation” neuro-chemical.

Humans are wired to go after dopamine hits.

From getting the most likes on Instagram and Facebook posts to being the one who gives the best holiday gifts or hosts the best parties…

…these all elicit dopamine hits.

Indulging in your favorite holiday treats creates a dopamine hit.

That’s why you’ll channel your inner Santa and keep going back for more cookies – sometimes in the middle of the night!

Dopamine is a powerful neuro-chemical that I find to be deficient or borderline low in 75% of my clients that take either a DUTCH (urine hormone metabolism) or OAT (organic acids) test.

The fast paced structure of modern society already depletes dopamine, stack on a month of craziness for the holidays and what do you expect?!

The amino acid tyrosine is needed to make dopamine as are the following vitamins…

  • B6
  • B3
  • B12
  • D
  • C
  • folate (B9)

It’s not uncommon for many to be eating insufficient amounts of protein and not getting the B vitamins from the protein they consume. 

Especially if you’re vegan or vegetarian!

Stress depletes your B vitamins too.

The holidays occur during the darkest time of the year when vitamin D levels are at their lowest in the northern hemisphere.

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Pair all that with increased sugar consumption, which decreases vitamin C absorption!

No wonder it’s easy to feel depleted and down after the holidays if you used all your remaining resources to make dopamine for a little over a month!

If you’re prone to feeling down or blah after the holidays it’s possible you’re in need of a little vitamin and energy reboot. 

You could test your vitamins to see where they are at using a white blood cell based micronutrient test by Spectra Cell…

…or you could add in a few key nutrients with a few healthy habits.

Getting back on track with your health after the holidays doesn’t have to be difficult. 

I often recommend a mix of the following after the holidays…

  • Vitamin D 5,000 IU – at least for the month of Jan then retest to see where your levels are at (especially if you’re getting dark/cold weather)
  • Vitamin C – 1,000 mg a day or eat fruit rich in vitamin C (kiwi, citrus)
  • B Complex – Quicksilver Scientific Methyl-B Complex or Thorne – Stress B Complex 
  • Increase protein to 25-30 grams per meal
  • Boost iron rich foods – grass fed/finished meat, spinach, black beans
  • Eat organic fruits and veggies
  • Add in Chlorella/Spirulina like EnergyBits Vitality, especially if you struggle to eat veggies
  • Get back on a schedule – set your meal and movement times and stick with them 
  • Schedule something fun to do each week or month – so you have something to look forward to more often
  • Ditch processed foods as much as you can
  • Keep up on hydration + electrolytes
  • Consider a guided metabolic reset if you feel like your metabolism took a big hit from the holidays – click HERE to check out my metabolic reset.

Prevent the post holiday blues from lasting all year and reach out for support if you’re struggling to get back on track. 

You and only you are in charge of your up coming year. 

What happens for you is a sum of your thoughts, habits, routines and behaviors. 

You create your own reality, make it an amazing one!

Here’s to your health in 2024 and beyond,

Dr. J

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