As an annual hay fever & seasonal affective disorder sufferer, I’ve tried & tested copious amounts of remedies over the years to help combat or reduce the effects of allergies & the winter blues, and I’ve finally found some that work!…
S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
I used to heavily rely on the weather being ‘nice’ to ensure that I felt ok & that I had a good day. I’d prepared for my S.A.D to be even worse during the winter just gone with what was happening in my life, and being a stark contrast against the Australian weather I’d just left behind me. But in fact, it’s the first year I was actually S.A.D free! I can only put this down to 2 things:
△ 1. Vitamin D3 supplements (as seen in the image above) – I get mine from Holland & Barrett and take one a day.
(Extra tip: do not take vitamins as a substitute for food or anything else, use them to complement your diet & daily routine. It’s also advisable to not take too many different vitamins at one time, as your body won’t be able to properly absorb all the goodness!)
△ 2. Walking – We regularly hear about it, read about it, and we all know it, but a lot of us struggle to actually get outside to see the benefits first-hand. Start small. If you do it often enough, you’ll start to notice the benefits and it really will seem like less of an effort. I’ve had several friends telling me how much better they feel after a walk too, whether it’s from clearing their heads by offloading, or just moving and filling their head & lungs with fresh air, or a little bit of all of those things. Even smiling & exchanging a hello with passers-by is proven to boost our moods a little. No excuses. Outside come rain or shine.
(Extra tip: get yourself a step counter to motivate you to move more & to challenge yourself or your friends, daily. This massively helped me!)
Hay Fever / Seasonal Allergies / Allergic Rhinitis
People can say it’s all in your head, but hay fever & other allergies have greatly effected me every single year since birth. It can greatly heighten asthma problems, and aggravate feelings of lethargy, anxiety & depression. Unfortunately, just because the sun’s out, it doesn’t mean that everyone feels brighter.
Having made the decision to no longer take anti-histamines since 2015, after taking 3 a day for 5-6 months the previous year (because that’s how long spring lasted that year!) and feeling so much worse for it, I vowed to find more natural ways of dealing with hay fever, as the money I was spending & chemicals I was pumping into my body just weren’t worth it!… I decided I’d rather just suffer naturally, though thankfully there’s been nothing but improvements since I stopped taking antihistamines.
Here are a few tips that I really hope help those who need it, to be able to enjoy the warmer seasons a little more…
△ 3. If you only do one thing, take Quercetin & Vitamin C. I’ve tried various alternatives to anti-histamines over the last 5 years and this is the best solution I’ve found! I get mine from Holland & Barrett and take two a day with breakfast. Start taking these & getting them in to your system before hay fever season begins. This varies every single year with our changing climates, but I started taking mine on 1 March this year. There’s still time to stock up before this year’s sneezy season gets into full swing! For those who are regular sufferers, set a reminder for yourself now to stock up & start taking these earlier next year! (It’s advised that you only take them for 3 months)
△ 4. And/or you can eat more foods rich in Quercetin… apples, peppers, dark cherries, blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, kale & citrus fruits. I personally don’t eat a lot of most of these, but perhaps I’ll start introducing a few!
△ 5. Some people recommend taking Bee Pollen supplements daily. I tried this for 2 years a while ago and personally didn’t notice a difference. I also used to take honey every morning (on toast, cereal, in a hot drink), and still do, but I haven’t noticed this being a benefit to hay fever allergies, but maybe that’s because it wasn’t local honey…
△ 6. Cut down on dairy & red meat. Eat more fish & plants. I tried this a year or 2 before I discovered Quercetin & it was the best thing I’d tried to date. (It also really helped my IBS). I did a lot of extensive research on this when I made the decision not to take antihistamines anymore and felt relieved to find a more natural way to deal with it. Although you need to start doing this well in advance of hay fever season to see any proper results, I found it was well worth the change! Start now & next year’s you will be thanking you tenfold!
△ 7. Reduce or remove alcohol. I know this one probably won’t be a popular option for most, but I know alcohol always heightened my symptoms. Cutting alcohol out of my life at the moment for other reasons (more on this to come!), is an added bonus for not aggravating hay fever suffering.
△ 8. Flowers are for outside. Flowers in the house during spring is usually a big no-no for me. Mum’s even got her daffodils in a beautiful pot outside the front door this year, rather than in the lounge. Though having read several articles on how certain types of daffodils can help with depression, I’ll perhaps be sacrificing my nasal passages & bringing them indoors for Dad.
△ 9. Wash your bedding more regularly. This helps rid of any pollen that’s snuck its way indoors through open windows or on unsuspecting pets.
△ 10. If pennies aren’t an issue, for a sure-fire way to avoid suffering from hay fever season, book a trip & fly away to the southern hemisphere & enjoy their autumn, or head to America/Asia where the pollens are different to those we have in the U.K & across Europe.
I’m still learning myself, but I believe that diet & lifestyle habits play a huge part in helping to manage & combat allergies, and the key with most of these is to start a year or few months before…
i.e. I started taking Vitamin D & doing regular walks in September/October to help combat S.A.D.
For hay fever prevention, I started making diet changes as soon as I could in the summer, ready for the following year, and I usually try to start taking Quercetin at the start of the year so that it has at least a month or so to get in to my system before spring arrives. Obviously in today’s current climate this changes every year, so it’s best to use your judgement, and get to know what works for you & your body. No 2 remedies work the same for everyone.
For those of you who do struggle with the various challenges that the seasons throw at us, year in & year out, I hope some of the tips above help you as much as they have for me!
Control what you can to help yourself out, but accept what you can’t change (i.e. the weather) & do your very best.
What does or doesn’t work for you? I’d love to hear in the comments below!