Saturday, 23 February 2019

F Faith and Fitness

Fighting the Winter Blues

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Winter is in full force. As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, even the best of us can get a little down. By February I am counting down the days until Spring!  The "winter blues" are characterized by the mild depression, lack of motivation, and low energy that many people experience during this cold season. Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to both prevent the blues from coming on and get yourself back to normal if they’re already here.

 

Exercise

As if we needed another reason to get fit! Exercise isn’t only for maintaining your weight and staying healthy. It’s great for relieving the stresses of life. Plus, the effects of a good workout can last for several hours after you hit the showers. You’ll have more energy throughout the day, and your metabolism will stay elevated too. Exercise also helps your mind by releasing those "feel good chemicals" (endorphins) that improve your mood.

 

Eat a Healthy Diet

What and when you eat has a great affect on your mood and energy. Avoid refined and processed foods (like white breads, rice, and sugar). These foods are not only lacking the nutrients your body craves, but they zap your energy levels and can affect your mood—causing depression, lack of concentration, and mood swings. Try to incorporate more complex carbohydrates (whole wheat breads, brown rice, veggies, fruit) and get your daily 8 cups of water. These healthy foods provide your body (and mind) with nutrients, and stabilize your blood sugar and your energy levels.

 

Get Some Sun

Most people know that sunlight provides us with Vitamin D. But did you know that it also improves your mood? Winter days are shorter and darker than other months, and because of the cold weather, a lot of people spend less and less time outdoors. Lack of sunlight can cause many people to become depressed—without knowing why! Similar to exercise, sunlight exposure releases neurotransmitters in the brain that affect mood. Try to spend a little more time outdoors.  Keep your shades up during the day to let more light in. Sit near windows in restaurants and during class. Try changing the light bulbs in your house to "full spectrum" bulbs. These mimic natural light and actually have the same affects on your mind as the real thing.

 

Act on your Resolutions

There is a strong link between healthy behaviors and depression. People who pursue healthy behaviors (like exercising, not smoking, etc.) have less sad and depressed days than those whose behaviors are less than healthy.  By mid February many have abandoned their New Year's Resolutions which often include exercising, eating healthier, and giving up bad habits.  It's never too late to "start over" with your resolutions!

 

Treat Yourself

Having something to look forward to can keep anyone motivated. Winter seems endless! But if you plan something exciting, your mood improves when you’re anticipating it and when the event actually comes. Plan something that’s exciting to you—a weekend trip, a day at the spa, a party, or special event like a play, girls (or guys) night out, or sporting event.

 

Relax!

You’re busy! Work, class, family, friends, appointments, meetings—even if you enjoy being busy, everyone needs some time off. Don’t be afraid to say "No" to extra opportunities (covering a shift for a co-worker, bringing food to your son’s class party). Try to spend a few minutes each day doing nothing! Read a book or magazine, sleep in on the weekend, go to bed early, enjoy a long, hot bath. Relaxation, can alleviate stress and leave you with a calm energy.

 

Embrace the Season

Instead of always avoiding the cold and the snow—look for the best that it has to offer! This is hard for me because winter is my least favorite season.  But it does help!  Take up a winter sport like ice skating, snowboarding, hockey, or even sledding! Enjoy these opportunities while they last—after all, they’re only here a few months per year. Staying active will boost your energy. Seeing winter in a positive light, with all the fun activities that it has to offer, will keep your spirits high.

 

Get Social Support

Don’t underestimate the power of friends, family, mentors, co-workers, and neighbors. Who can you turn to when you’re down and need a pick-me-up? Keep a mental list of these special people and don’t be afraid to ask for help or encouragement when you need it. Something as simple as a phone call, a chat over coffee, or a nice email or letter can brighten your mood.

 

Catch some Zzzz’s

People naturally want to sleep a little bit more during the winter. But with all we have going on, sometimes sleep is the first thing to go. With a little time management, and some self-discipline, you can meet your shut-eye needs. Aim for 7-8 hours each night, and try to keep your bedtime and waking time consistent. That way, your sleeping patterns can normalize and you’ll have more energy. Try not to oversleep—those 12-hour snoozes on the weekend can actually make you MORE tired. Don’t forget naps! A short (10-30 minute) afternoon nap may be all you need to re-energize midday.

 

Although the winter months seem endless, and the blues set in, these things will help until we see "the light of Spring"!

Columnist: Kellye Davis Williams

Picture Kellye Davis Williams is a personal trainer who focuses on the health and well being of her clients as well as coaching them to make positive changes that will impact the rest of their lives.  She helps them to achieve their health and fitness goals as well as encourages them to strive for and achieve their " life" goals with her message of hope. As a model, Kellye exemplifies the essence of artistic beauty while proving the power of a woman is more than superficial refinement. She is the co host of Thrive Radio Talk Show on Revmedia network. 

Kellye resides in east Atlanta with her family. When she is not working out or training her clients, she teaches spiritual concepts to an adult class at her church as well as ministers in her role as Women's Ministry Director. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her daughters, shopping, traveling, and simply enjoying coffee with friends.
 

 

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