As winter approaches, the days are growing shorter and the nights longer. Around this time of year it is extremely common for many of us to develop symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, also known as the “winter blues”, beginning as early as the fall and lasting well into spring and summer. The symptoms can leave you in the most depressive of states and easily hold you back from your optimal health and wellness.
If you do your research, you will find plenty of information and advice out there on how to shake off those winter blues. One article from Canadian Living suggests the following 7 tips:
- Become a sun worshipper
- Embrace a winter sport
- Throw a party
- Set a goal
- Stay home
- Get help
Now it goes without saying that we are all at different stages in life and one single approach isn’t going to be the magic fix for all of us. For instance, as heavenly as staying home and spending an entire evening reading a comforting book might sound, for a mom with three little ones this seems just nearly impossible at this stage in my life! (Although I do highly recommend reading a good novel when you have the chance!) One thing I try to focus on the most over these months is ways to reduce stress wherever possible. Eating well and getting enough sleep are also high priorities on my list. I know my immune system will also benefit from this which in turn will decrease my chances off illness and keep me much happier day to day! I try to set the evening momma-chores aside whenever possible and take advantage of much quality time and activities with my boys. Sometimes we just need to take a deep breath, be real and realize that some things CAN wait until tomorrow. Even the simplest of things such as buying pre-chopped veggies or quick and simple meals can be big time savers in the evenings allowing for musch easier early bedtime routines. Don’t have kids? These tricks can still help you gain some extra quiet time before it’s time for your lights out. Most of all being proactive as opposed to reactive has been a big part of how I keep my sanity in such a busy house! Take time to sit down and write yourself out a weekly or monthly plan with things you’d like to accomplish in the following weeks/months. If you draw a blank, check out the activities that I will mention later on to give you some ideas of what to add to that list.
Personally, I do have many activities lined up over the next few months. For example my next race is the Santa Shuffle in December with my boys and then I’m looking forward to introducing my 7 year old to the Dion nighttime snowshoe race at Upper Canada Village in January. It still happens that I feel my mood and energy levels drop around this time of year which means extra effort is needed to stick to my training goals. My body is seriously getting ready to hibernate and probably would if I would just let it! Finding balance through activities that you will enjoy and look forward to is key. It is healthy to understand that a workout at the gym can easily be substituted for a fun time out at the sliding hill with your family or a skate down the canal. If you are a true Canadian, outdoor activities might appeal to you and this is the time to look forward to activities such as snowshoeing, cross country or downhill skiing, snowmobiling, ice skating, tobogganing and the list goes on. For those who consider themselves to be more along the lines of Florida dreamers and want to avoid any activities requiring mittens and a tuque, this would be a great time to check out some new indoor activities that you may not have tried before. Being Ottawa based, our community has so much to offer which would keep you busy and your mind off of the cold well into the spring. Remind yourself that not all activities must be physically challenging. Paint nights and pottery classes are also great options that give your creative side a challenge as well. When choosing activities try to follow a mind-body-soul approach.
Setting a few short term goals and having activities to look forward to will make it easier and much more motivating to create a consistant fitness routine these next few months. This will help prevent you from falling off track and waiting until the spring or summer to start up all over again. Don’t lose all of the hard work you’ve done this year! And most importantly, if you are considering signing up for any new activities but are unsure or your fitness level always start slow. If you find your fitness level isn’t where you’d like it to be, consider touching base with a fitness professional in your area so that they can help you regain your strengths and help reduce chances of injury during your activities. Here is a list of a few fun activites you might want to consider this season.
If you are a true Canadian sasquash you might like some of the following events:
Dion ignite the night – Upper Canada Village
Nordik Spa Experience
Forest skating – Lac des Loups
Kanata Nordic – Snowshoeing, XC Skiing, Orienteering, Skijoring
The Florida dreamers might prefer some indoor warmth this season. Consider some of the following activites!…
Cherry pole dance
Bad Axe Throwing
Coyote rock climbing
Altitude gym & clip and climb
Color me mine – ceramic painting