Seasonal Affective Disorder – “Holiday Depression”?
Part 5 - Lack of Exercise
In the northern hemisphere, the days get shorter and the darkness seems to win towards the holiday season around November-December.
In this 6-part series I will talk about possible causes of SAD - and what we can do to help!
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
For many people that darkness extends to their emotions, and they feel gloomy, down and generally miserable. They may be experiencing depression, sleep problems, weight gain, anxiety, joint pain, irritability, stress, or headaches. This is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), winter depression, or “Holiday Depression”.
What are the most important causes contributing to SAD?
- Lack of sunlight
- Holiday Treats
- Lack of Nutrients
- Increased Stress from the holiday season
- Lack of Exercise
- Regrets and Worries
What Can we Do about it?
- Light Therapy
- Reduce Sugary and Junk Food (as much as possible)
- Take supplements
- Relax – Your Holidays do not need to be perfect
- Move more
- Be kind to yourself – Exterminate the ANT’s from your Brain…
Each week I will talk about one of these issues.
So today here is Cause - and Intervention # 5 addressed:
Cause # 5: Lack of Exercise
You may think: But I am constantly on the go. I get a lot of exercise. Really?
The truth is that during the holidays, most people not only splurge on food, but also on sitting around. We are sitting on the couch, glued to the TV, watching our favorite holiday movies. What's your's? Cmment below and let me know! (Mine is the original black-and-white "Scrooge", by the way).
We miss time at the gym or at our yoga or TaiChi group because of the holidays and sit with friends.
Even if we are going and on our feet "all day", that's just aerobic movement. This is good, but not enough. Our body, brain and muscles need strength training, too, to stay strong, healthy and not hurt.
Exercise, especially the high-intensity-interval training recommended for brain cell re-growth (and yes, it is possible!), not only leads to a release of feel-good hormones like endorphines, but also makes us sweat and so get rid of many toxins in our body.
So it is no wonder that we don't feel as well during the holidays.
Intervention # 5: Move More - Here's How
Now that sounds easier said than done. Don't we move all the time?
As we said above, we need strength as well as endurance training for optimal health. Now, that doesn't mean you have to go to the Gym every day...
What can we do?
I recommend a "Nitric Oxide Dump" - Check out the video where Dr. Mercola demonstrates how to do it properly. I do this exercise 3 times a day for healthy blood flow in brain, heart and body.
And if you are sitting a lot, how about doing a few squats when carrying the turkey? (well, don't drop it, though :))
Or a few mindful arm movements up and down while carrying a can of food in each hand as weight?
If you'd like more instructions and companionship as well as group support, consider joining our upcoming Brain Health Groups!
These will be online (tech support provided, works with all smartphones, tablets, labtops and computers) groups, consisting of a 5 min tip by DocChristine, 15-20 min exercises with our trained fitness expert, Michelle (who can see you do it with her if you choose to use your camera, so she can correct wrong posture and avoid you hurting yourself...) and a 30 min group meeting with Certified Health Coach Jennifer.
Who can say that they have a personal trainer coming in their house 3 times a week?
And all that for a fraction of what a "real" personal trainer would charge you...
Watch out for next week's blog to learn more about the options and get a special offer by email!
If you feel you need help coping with the holidays, please reach out for help. Call a trusted friend or family member, a counselor, a doctor or reach out to us.
Is it really bad? Are you feeling like hurting yourself? Please go for help right now. Call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.
Don't give up! There is a light at the end of the tunnel for you, too! Go to my about page and watch the video of my story, and you will get the courage to go for help.
In Part 6 of the SAD series we are talking about how worries and regrets - especially during the holiday season - can make you sad and tired.