Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder during the Winter

There’s a well-known phenomenon during the darkest and coldest months of the year called the “Winter Blues.” It usually starts around the end of January and can last well into March, depending upon your location. For northern areas, where there’s the least amount of sunlight during the day, many people can be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder which causes depression and lethargy due to lack of sunlight and Vitamin D.

One of my clients moved away from Santa Monica a few years ago. I still monitor his training and nutrition, by the way, and am always happy to do that for my out of town clients. I noticed his performance was starting to slip and he was gaining weight. I mentioned this to him in one of our consultations. He told me he was feeling depressed and didn’t really know why. His job is great, his wife is doing well and his kids are very happy. However, he wakes up in the morning and it’s cold and dark outside. He can’t go for a run without fear of slipping on the sidewalk ice. His workouts have been suffering as well.

I thought about it for a while and made a few suggestions to him, which may also be of help to you.

How To Avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder

1: Purchase a “Light Box”.  It provides high intensity therapeutic light which can be positioned near the face to flood the face and the eyes with light to stimulate the retinas, which in turn activates parts of the brain responsible for appetite, energy and mood.

2: Switch up your workout. We added more cardio at the gym and increased the number of reps while decreasing weights to keep his heart rate up during the workout, which also helps produce more serotonin.

3: Take more baths. “What???” Yes, you heard me, take more baths, but make them productive. Soak for 20 minutes in an Epsom salt bath twice a week. Not only does it soothe sore muscles, it helps you relax and lowers stress hormones. Add some drops of eucalyptus oil to help with any chest or nasal congestions. Add some drops of lavender to help with sleep.

4: Watch your diet. It’s easy to slip into “Comfort Food” mode when tired, stressed or depressed. Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure you’re eating a well-balanced diet filled with quality protein, leafy greens, fruits and vegetable and complex carbs.

This isn’t an overnight cure, but by week 4, he was back on track and back to his healthy weight, doing and feeling much better. I, of course, was glad to be of help.

Contact me today to create a workout and nutrition plan that’s right for you.

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