Winters in the Midwest seem relatively long. Some people dislike dealing with the cold and migrate to warmer locations during the coldest months. But even as the weather begins to warm in the spring, cloudy skies seem to dominate certain areas. Central Indiana is among the cloudiest areas of the country, having gray days 61 percent of the time on average.
It’s not surprising that a fair number of people deal with some degree of Seasonal Affectation Disorder, or SAD. But even if there’s no official diagnosis, many others also feel the effects of the cold dreary months and can benefit from a ‘foot-up’ when it comes to shaking off winter blues and springing into a new season.
Coming out of hibernation: Health coaching tips
You may have heard “where the body goes, the spirit follows,” and it’s certainly true that inactivity isn’t great for the body – or the mind. That’s why it’s so important to make a special effort to give your body a little tune-up.
Let’s face it, when the temperatures drop, so does our desire to exercise. Getting bundled up is more of an effort, and if you work a regular schedule there are weeks the daylight is simply MIA. Because it gets dark early, we tend to binge watch our favorite series and overindulge on mindless snacks. However, the trick is to simply get moving. We don’t have to make up for a winter-long hibernation right away – start slow and do just a little. You’ll find that your own body will start wanting more.
About that mindless snacking – it’s easy to do when you’re watching television, socializing, and just plain bored. Would there even be such thing as a New Year’s Resolution if winter noshing wasn’t a near-universal issue? Still, diet does matter, and has effects on not only your bodily health but also your mood. In this, you can plan to succeed by pre-planning meals and pre-packaging snacks that keep you satisfied and prevent hunger from driving you to bad choices. A health coach can help you set up a diet and schedule that best support your needs.
Another beneficial activity is massage. A trained and licensed massage therapist understands how to manipulate your muscles and soft tissue properly, increasing blood flow to your body and brain. Increase circulation supports healing and encourages the brain to release fewer stress hormones. The benefits of regular massage are well documented, showing its help with reducing pain, increasing alertness, and getting better sleep.
At the end of the day, a lot comes down to attitude. Studies indicate a definite connection between your outlook and your health, although it’s not clear exactly what that connection is. Even if you can’t put on a happy face 24-7, it helps to be mindful of the positive things in your life when they come to mind. A professor at Rutgers University who has studied the issue reports there are positive benefits when people can turn their attention away from risks to their health and focus instead on the resources they have to stay healthy.
The good news is, we don’t have to tackle everything at once. Whether we’re a little SAD or just trying to gear up for a new season, there’s a lot of good advice and even better resources out there to help us take steps toward a well-lived life.