The Winter Effect
In the week of the clocks going back the talking point with strangers and friends alike has been "the dark nights" that everyone dreads. This season comes with a lot of pros and cons, "The Winter Effect" is going to explain a little about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
For me personally I love certain aspects about winter, it brings in my favorite celebrations of the year; Bonfire night, Christmas, New Year and my Birthday (January 16th F.Y.I) but for a lot of people winter is nothing but a burden; the cold mornings where you cannot get out of your cocoon-like duvet, the commute to work in the wind, rain and snow, and worst of all leaving and coming home in the dark. It's a wonder we have motivation to do anything in the doom and gloom of a Scottish winter.
Along with these minor elements there is a more serious, clinically diagnosed issue, SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder, winter depression, it affects 1 in 3 people in the UK with around 21% reporting mild SAD symptoms.
The main cause is lack of sunlight, as mentioned above most of us hate waking up when the mornings are dark, it is suspected that these lower light levels during the winter can disrupt your body clock and lead to symptoms of SAD.
Stated on the NHS website symptoms are as follows:
- a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
- feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
- feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
- sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
- craving carbs and gaining weight
Can you relate to any of these?
There are treatments for those serious cases however there are also a number of things you can do to prevent not getting out of bed from becoming SAD.
You need to take action, something as simple as making the most of the daylight provided could help keep your mojo.
Working a 9-5 job chances are you wont see sunlight unless you look out a window, so make sure to grab your jacket and go for a walk on your lunch break giving your mind a refresh before heading back to the office.
In terms of losing interest of normal activities such as working out, change it up, add in something new to make it exciting, never give up on something you love doing. Recently I started with a new coach and I could not be happier waltzing into the gym to try out new workouts. It is amazing what exercising can do for your mind and body which is why my next piece of advice is so important.
EXERCISE, there is nothing more relieving than the feeling of stress coming out your body in the form of sweat, if you are eating correctly, exposing yourself to sunlight and holding onto a routine then the next step is to set yourself a goal. As the winter months come in it is ideal to find yourself time to exercise during daylight however you may not want to run outside in the winter months so challenging yourself in the gym could push you to stay fit and motivated, here are some ideas;
- Be able to do a pull up by Christmas
- Run an extra mile on the treadmill this week
- Take part in at least 2 classes per week
- Master your squat
- Start training for a 10k, pick yourself an event to work towards
I hope you can all set yourself a goal, let me know in the comments section!
Above all, stay happy this winter ! :)
If you would like to read more into Seasonal Affective Disorder please follow the link below.