If you are like me you’re not a big fan of winter; however, for some people it is a far more series concern and a real medical condition. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) also referred to as the “wintertime blues” is a type of depression that mainly affects people during the late fall and winter seasons. It is most common in young adult women. According to E-Medicine Health this condition affects as many as 6% of American Adults with another 10 to 20% experiencing mild symptoms. The exact causes are unknown but it is believed to be related to chemical changes in the brain caused by changes in or lack of sunlight. Experts also suggest that their may be a tendency for SAD to run in families.
Whether you are affected by SAD or not, with the holidays over and spring still a long way away – the end of January, all of February and even some of March can be a challenging time to stay upbeat, motivated and focused. I did my own unofficial survey, checking with friends, family and colleagues to get their ideas on beating the “winter time blues!” Here are a couple of suggestions – let me know your thoughts and favorites!
- Weather permitting, go outside during your lunch break, take a brisk walk and get as much sunlight as possible. You will be burning calories and getting some much needed Vitamin D from the sun.
- Find and sign up for an upcoming event such as a 5K, bike race or walk / run event. Aim for a race in March or April. It is a great way to support local charities while keeping you motivated and exercising as you train to compete.
- Eat healthy; we tend to go for comfort foods during the cold months, pasta, starches and ‘heavy foods’. Make sure you are eating enough fruits and vegetables, aim for 5 to 9 serving every day.
- Laugh & Smile! Laughing hard not only exercises your heart and lungs, but also works the muscles in your chest, abdomen, shoulders, neck and face! So go ahead and Laugh – It’s good for you!
- Volunteer; find a homeless shelter, local SPCA, food bank or anywhere else where you can lend a helping hand. Volunteering not only helps the less fortunate but boosts your energy and mood as well!
- Start your own small exercise group, get a group of 3 to 5 people together from your neighborhood, work, community or church and walk, do a exercise DVD or Yoga once a week. It’s a great way to socialize while keeping fit.
Enjoy the winter weather, get outside go skiing, sledding, tubing or ice skating – make it fun- because before you know it spring will be here!
Be FIt. Be Healthy. Be Happy.