Oh, sun, where art thou?
At least that’s what those of us who are trapped under four layers of thermal clothing are wondering. While winter is great for enjoying your favourite winter sports, nostalgic movies, and holiday cheer, it’s also a time where you suddenly start to feel…off? Maybe you’re sleeping in later or indulging in a few more butter tarts than you normally do (we are also very guilty of this).
So, while we’re not saying these aren’t bad things, they can be symptoms of a deeper issue that tends to rear its ugly head during the winter – a common foe named, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or (SAD).
In this article, we’re going to look at what exactly SAD is and provide a few tips that will help you boost your mental health during these arduous winter months.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?[
SAD, also often referred to as seasonal depression, is a type of depression that typically occurs during the winter months due to lack of sunlight and cold weather.
For most people, SAD goes away with the reintroduction of spring and summer, but it can be an incredibly debilitating and challenging thing to deal with. That’s why, during the winter, it’s important to spend a bit more time doing things that bring you joy – and yes, this does include binge watching Succession and Love Island without guilt.
Here are a few tips we’ve put together that anyone can use when trying to combat SAD and boost their mental health. Remember, mental health is just as important as physical health. Always check in with your physician or health care specialist for medical advice that will be best suited to your specific needs.
Ways to Boost your Mental Health During the Winter
Whether you struggle with seasonal depression, or simply just want an extra boost of serotonin this winter, these tips are a great option to add into your current lifestyle.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!
If you’re planning on cruisin’ down the slopes this year, you’ll want to get in proper form to prevent any serious (or just slightly embarrassing) wipe-outs.
We can’t emphasize enough how important exercise is for mental health. During the winter, it might seem like the last thing you want to do, but an exercise as basic as a yoga and stretch class or a 30-minute walk on the treadmill while listening to your favourite podcast will do wonders for your mood.
Choose Healthier Food Option
The next best thing you can do to boost your mental health is to choose healthier food options. And no, this does not mean kale juice and plain chicken.
Adding vitamin-rich food that are packed with antioxidants doesn’t have to be difficult or painful. For example, if you’re eating a sandwich, opt for a side of cucumbers instead of crisps. Another option is to sub out your fruit-flavored yogurt for plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, cacao chips, and coconut flakes on top.
These simple changes can really help with boosting serotonin levels and combating lack of energy.
Did you know that during the winter, vitamin D levels decrease significantly? Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency often include depression, fatigue, and anxiety, so it’s important that during the winter, you find ways to get enough vitamin D.
Other great, mood-boosting supplements to look into, include:
- Omega 3
FW Tip! If you’re looking to grab a supplement, remember that Fitness World members get a 30% discount on dotFIT supplements when they order through their online dotFIT account. To get help setting up your account, chat with a team member in-club!
These exercises are designed to help with balance, coordination, and flexibility allowing for an easier shift in weight during turns. So, grab your 80s neon ski suit and get ready for ski training: Fitness World edition.
Just because it’s a bit chillier outside, doesn’t mean you should avoid the outside completely. There are so many great activities and sports that you can take part in during the winter! A few of our favourite winter sports, include:
- Ice Skating
- Ice Climbing
If you’re not into sports, no problem! Going for a casual walk is another great option! Grab a hot chocolate and go on a casual stroll to soak up the winter sunlight (be sure to wear your SPF as you can still get burnt, even in the winter). It will truly surprise you how much this brief activity helps with boosting your mental health.
Connect with Friends and Family
Last, and finally not least, is make sure you’re connecting with friends and family. Too often during the winter, we all hibernate in our homes and forget there are other people in the world. Something as simple as a drink with friends or shopping date with a parent can help to boost your mood!
Connect with Fitness World!
With New Year’s coming up, the perfect time to start achieving your fitness and health goals is now! Work one-on-one with our experienced trainers or attend a fitness class today and start seeing the benefits of movement.
At Fitness World, our goal is your health – physical and mental. We believe in the power of exercise and can help set up a customized workout plan to fit your unique lifestyle.