How are you spending that extra hour today? I definitely used it to sleep in…and it felt good.
As the temperatures become colder and the days turn shorter, it is so easy to fall right back into our old routines. You know the mornings when we sleep in a little later and miss that morning boot camp class. Or the dinners we stay inside and opt for pastas instead of salads. We change out our wardrobe for bigger sweaters and jackets to hide those holiday pounds. We come home from work and it’s dark, so instead of going on that walk we curl up on the couch and watch TV instead. All of these things start happening slowly throughout Fall and by December our moods change drastically as a result.
If you are prone to these mood changes, the time to plan and prepare is NOW!
So what can you do?
- Increase exposure to Light. Exposure to sunlight, bright lights, or light therapy has been shown to be effective. Even rearranging your office during the winter months to be closer to a window can help. Just remember you still need sunscreen even during the colder months, UV rays can still harm the body. So be safe!
- Plan out your schedule. Now that life is busier, kids are in school, there are sports and other things to attend, you need a visual calendar. So take the time and plan out every day, every hour, so that you can make time for everything you need. Make sure to include times for working out and time to prep for a healthy meal.
- Eat Healthy. With the changes in season sure we may opt for hot meals but that doesn’t mean we have to eat unhealthy. There are plenty of healthy recipes for every season. If you are interested in some healthy meals please contact us and speak to our nutritionist.
- Eat until you are satisfied, not full. Especially in the colder months we tend to overeat and eat until we feel stuffffed! Think of Thanksgiving! It is essential during this time that we eat mindfully and only eat what we need to feel satisfied. So take breaks while eating, turn off the TV, and engage in conversation with your family or friends. Weight gain can often creep up during these months which has a direct impact on our mood.
- Join a gym. As the weather is colder and we can’t get outside for those runs, don’t just stop doing cardio. Join a gym, try new classes or get warm clothes and get out there and run. The fall can be the perfect time to join a gym as it is often quieter during these months. Then once January hits say goodbye to getting on those treadmills! So start your new years resolution early and get moving.
- Keep traveling and planning fun activities. There are plenty of ways to continue doing fun things even though outdoor activities are done. During the winter months explore museums, check out indoor concerts, paint, host a dinner party, or get involved in a charity/club. I myself suffer from some form of this and in order to get me through the winter months I will usually plan an island getaway around December or January. This year, 7 days in Punta Cana is just what I need to get that sunshine. Or why not go on a skiing vacation, that is the perfect way to get active and enjoy the winter season.
- Stay hydrated. We tend to think that we only need water in the hot months, but our skin actually becomes even more dehydrated in the colder months with the dry air. So make sure that you are drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day.
Many people struggle with seasonal affective mood issues, clinically referred to as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This is a depression related to the change in seasons. For most beginning in Fall and continuing through the winter months. Common symptoms include:
- low energy
- difficulty sleeping
- lack of interest in activities and relationships
- feeling hopeless
- and an overall sense of depression
If you feel you have symptoms of SAD, please reach out to make an appointment or seek professional help. It is important to make sure there is no other medical condition causing symptoms. SAD can be misdiagnosed as several other medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, infectious mononucleosis, and other viral infections, so proper evaluation is key. A mental health professional can diagnose the condition and discuss therapy options. With the right treatment, SAD can be a manageable condition.
So if you know that you are one of those people who tend to have mood fluctuations during this time, try some of these strategies or think of your own and comment below!
*This post is not meant to be in place of seeking professional help.
Parekh, R. (2017, January). Seasonal Affective Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/seasonal-affective-disorder