Beating the Memphis Winter Blues
There are going to be days that you just do not want to work out. Even the most dedicated and consistent athletes have days when just the thought of working out takes too much energy.
It is important to listen to your body on these days. Maybe you need a mental break from training and your body is asking for a day of self-care and rest, and that is ok. Embrace those days and give your mind and body a rest from training.
It is important to pay attention to the frequency and circumstances of those days when you are just feeling “blah.” We are in the thick of winter, staring down February with the holidays and new year’s resolutions behind us. The days are still too short and too cold, and many of us are struggling to find the motivation to get out of bed, much less get in a good workout.
If you are finding that you’ve had more “blah” days in the last two weeks than good days, you may be suffering from the winter blues (in Memphis).
Beating the Memphis Winter Blues
The winter blues, sometimes referred to and diagnosed as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a common psychological response to the lack of sunshine and vitamin D we all experience during the winter. Some experience no symptoms of the winter blues while others have symptoms so significant that medical attention is necessary. Whether you are being treated by a physician for your seasonal affective disorder or are just not feeling your normally motivated-self, this post is for you.
There are very easy ways to take care of yourself this winter and curb the blues. And the buzzword here is “self-care”.
Getting “the winter blues” is a physiological occurrence that happens when the lack of sunlight affects the workings of the brain’s hypothalamus, which can result in lowered levels of serotonin. Low-levels of serotonin can be chronic or seasonal (hence Seasonal Affective Disorder). Since this article is about the winter blues and since we can’t create more sunlight on a whim, we are focusing on other ways we can increase our serotonin levels as well as cope with the blues.
If you couldn’t guess, this one is our favorite ways to fight the blues. So, you’re not up for training for a marathon, that’s fine. But get some movement in. Go for a walk, do some yoga, calisthenics – it’s your choice! Stay active, and by doing so you will naturally be boosting your level of serotonin.
Please note: we are not suggesting a “diet”; we are referring to eating foods that are good for you. Foods that fuel healthy brain activity, and yes, that means fruits and veggies.
Meditation can increase the level of mindfulness you have on your own thoughts and feelings. The more aware you are of your thoughts and feelings of “blah”, the better you will be able to recognize them for what they are: thoughts and feelings that can be overcome and conquered.
Life is balance. When you are physically active, you should always be thoughtful about giving your body and mind rest. That doesn’t change when you’re dealing with the blues.
Maybe your winter has been a country song. You miss the sun, your dog died, and your favorite bachelor broke up with whatever-her-name was. You’ve coped a little too hard and have completely let go of your training routine and are surrounded by take-out food containers. It’s ok. Get up and start again. You deserve it.
I personally think this one is huge. Plan something fun or maybe plan 5 things that are fun. Sign-up for an early spring 5K in a new city you’ve never traveled to. Or plan a trip to cycle through the California vineyards. Find a goal or a fun activity that excites you and find joy in the planning and anticipation.
We want to see you living your best fit life but also understand that sometimes it’s not that easy. If you need encouragement or someone to hold you (or to hold on to) while you get through this winter, we are here for you and will be cheering you on all the way.
If you are unsure if your symptoms warrant a trip to the doctor, we say call your physician and find out. There is no sense in wondering when your best life is at stake. You can also check out the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or call 1-800-662-4357.
If you are having thoughts of death, self-harm or suicide please call 911 immediately.