It has been quite some time since my last post and I forgot how much I missed writing- well.. typing. The holidays are upon us and I currently find myself in a fitness rut; I have not stepped foot in the gym in weeks- despite working one floor below a gym. I am not 100% sure why I have been so uninspired by the idea of putting on my workout clothes and headphones and walking up that flight of stairs, but I have a few ideas. The holiday season is known for causing decreases in physical activity – the cold, short days and the stress of holidays (shopping, traffic, family, etc.) can take a toll on the body and the mind. For many people, decreases in physical activity is only one symptom of “holiday blues” – others may deal with increased feelings of stress, irritability, tiredness and lack of energy. There is even medical condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (aptly abbreviated as SAD) related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same time every year and symptoms typically begin in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping energy and making an individual feel moody and even depressed. I am not insinuating that everyone go to the doctor this Christmas if they are feeling stressed, but I do believe that many of the treatments recommended for patients diagnosed with SAD are extremely important for keep anyone’s spirits up through the holidays!
1) Get Active! Physical Activity can help relieve stress and anxiety, both of which can increase SAD symptoms according to the Mayo Clinic. Being more active can also make you feel better about yourself, which can lift your mood, warding off the dreaded holiday funk. I know I have been in a rut when it comes to getting into the gym, but I can still be active at home. One of my favorite full body exercises can be done with (or without) a pair of weights and a yoga mat! I will post more home workout ideas as well and do not hesitate to contact me if you need some holiday home workout ideas!
2) Step Into the Light. Soak in as much bright light during the day as possible! Take a walk, or simply sit outside and soak up the sun. Even on cold or cloudy days, outdoor light makes a difference— especially if you spend some time outside within two hours of getting up in the morning. Unable to get outside? Opening blinds, and sitting or working closer to bright windows while at home or in the office can also help lift your spirits!!!
6.) Go Fish… Patients with depression have been shown to have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are primarily found in fish. Just 2 to 3 grams of fish oil a day can leave you happier.
If you do feel that you might have more than just a case of the Holiday Blues, there are other treatments available. Please see the May Clinic reference below for more information about SAD symptoms and treatment options.
Mayo Clinic. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). 2014. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/definition/con-20021047
Men’s Fitness. Beat The Holiday Blues. http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/beat-holiday-blues