Fall brings beautiful colours, crisp invigorating air, football games, hot chocolate, and bonfires. Winter brings cozy nights watching old movies, celebration and holiday parties, and the quiet and stillness of the first snow. It is a beautiful time of year for colours, smells, and spending time with family and friends. However, for some folks the seasonal changes can make them lose motivation, experience lack of energy, even feel depressed. This is what is known as S.A.D. or Seasonal Affective Disorder.
SAD can happen to anyone and not just in the winter, but it is the most common time of year due to lack of sunlight, so experts believe. Typically people who are sensitive to SAD will start to experience the effects in the Fall, and begin to feel better at the first sign of Spring. But you don’t have to chalk it up to the “winter blues” and suffer. There are a few things you can try to put pep in your step, stabilize your mood, and embrace the energy of the season.
1. Don’t overdo it
The end of the year is a time for “hustle and bustle”, lots of holiday parties, deadlines at work, and family commitments. Pace yourself. Try not to commit to every invitation, do some of your shopping on line, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
2. Get more daylight
The days are shorter and the most common reason for SAD. Open the curtains during the day, bundle up and go outside for a brisk, invigorating walk! Talk to your doctor about Light Therapy options.
3. Commit to your workouts
Consistent exercise can help boost your mood and reduce stress. Make your workout a priority.
4. Continue to practice healthy habits
Just because the holidays at the end of the year encourage parties with sweet indulgences and excessive alcohol, this doesnt give us a green light for discarding our healthy habits. Eat a well balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and adequate protein, aim for 8 hours of sleep each night, limit added sugars, and drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.
5. Reach out
Some people tend to hibernate in the colder weather months. If you feel yourself withdrawing and wanting to spend a lot of time alone, reach out and call a friend or loved one. Make a coffee date or look for volunteer opportunities!
The one thing to remember is to take care of you! Be patient with yourself and practice self care. If you feel you are struggling and the symptoms are so profound that it is effecting your quality of life, seek help from your doctor.
By Fitmo Coach Carol Keller