Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) effects about 4% of the population in a severe way, 10% to 20% in a mild to moderate way and many more people may just feel a little lower when looking up at a grey sky. It is also 4x more common in women than in men. If you have a family history of depression, anxiety or mood disorders and you add the seasonal weather on top of that it can cause big problems in a person’s life.
Some of the things that occur naturally in the winter are: feeling more fatigued and gaining weight. This is because in cold whether we are naturally programmed to move slower; a sort of human hibernation period to protect us from injuries.
Some of my favorite tips to combat this are as follows:
Don’t fight it: hibernate and choose activities that make you feel warm, nourished and cared for. Some examples may be choose a nice book or to read for winter, fluffy wool socks or going to a cabin with a large fire-place.
Reduce training schedule: Athletes will often have less events or races in the winter so they can reduce the intensity of the work out to help the body recover and restore for another season.
Recover and Restoring foods: Soups with a nourishing broth and the root vegetables can be a healthy way to replenish the nutrients that got depleted over a years time.
Light Therapy: Philips the company makes a wide range of light therapy alarm clocks and energy lights to help with your mood and wake time. Our favorite is GoLITE BLU Energy Light. It’s $122 (This has been independently studied to improve energy levels in about 70% of participants making it a very effective therapy for Seasonal blues). A cheaper option is a full spectrum light bulb in your vanity while getting ready in the morning and this will run $9-$15 but not as effective for more severe cases.
Exercise in the morning: Brisk exercise in the morning by either walking the dog or push-ups for 15-20 minutes improves blood flow, improves metabolism and mood.
Water: Drink 32 oz before exercise and breakfast and continue to drink lots throughout the day. Average male 150lbs should drink 75 to 150 oz per day. If you struggle with enough water then download an app or get a water bottle that tells you how much you have been drinking.