It’s fall, going into winter. This is the time of the year when the days get shorter, there’s less sun, and temperatures begin to get frigid. It’s really common for people to feel down or depressed during this time.
The decreased sunlight disrupts your body’s internal clock which causes a decrease in the brain chemical serotonin that affects mood. The change in season can also disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood. This time of year can be tough, but there are some really effective ways to combat it.
#1 – Get more sleep. The shorter days elicit a response that your body needs to sleep more. Give it what it wants. With the cold weather, our body’s internal clock is telling us we need to conserve energy. So don’t fight what is natural, give it more rest. Sleep is the foundation of health and many studies have shown direct correlations between sleep deprivation, depression and heart disease. You can’t diet or exercise your way out of unhealthy sleep patterns. Try these two simple things for better sleep:
- Put away the screens 1 hour before bed
- Go to bed 30-45 min earlier each night
#2 – Dial in your nutrition. Whole foods, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and lean sources of meat contain important vitamins and minerals that keep hormones balanced and allow for the synapses in the brain to fire properly. When nutrition is in balance it’s easier for the body to produce melatonin and serotonin. Try these two simple things for dialing in nutrition:
- Add a vegetable and fruit to every meal
- Cut the sugar drinks, replace with water
#3 – Workout. Working out releases endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that the body releases that help relieve stress and pain. They essentially give you an emotional high, happy vibes and a sense of accomplishment. I’ve never regretted doing a workout. Your workouts don’t have to be an all out effort, just get in and move around. That’s all you need to do. Try these two simple things to keep you working out:
- Schedule it into your week by putting it into your planner
- Set objective, measurable fitness goals. For example, perform LNF’s WOD four days per week for 30 days, etc.
#4 – Go outside, even when it’s cold, and even when you don’t feel like it. The lack of sunshine does not allow the body to intake as much vitamin D as the body needs during the fall and winter. Lack of vitamin D can weaken the immune system, cause chronic fatigue and lead to depression. Going outside can help keep vitamin D levels up. Try these two simple things:
- Walk for 30-45 minutes during your lunch hour and don’t forget to bring warm clothes to work!
- Consider taking a vitamin D supplement
#5 – Set a daily routine. It’ll give you a sense of self accountability. Often during this time we don’t feel like performing routine tasks, but this can help keep you on track even when you don’t feel like it. Try these two simple things:
- Plan your day, write in a planner. Set aside 15 minutes in the morning to map out your priorities.
- Just do it! I’m stealing this from Nike, but it’s true. Just do the things planned for the day. Often we spend more time dreading the task longer than the time it takes to do the task. Once you do, you’ll feel accomplished and happy you did it.
#6 – Read, Journal, Pray or Meditate. This is best done early morning or before you go to bed. Get your thoughts down on paper. You’ll find that it will help you process and navigate your feelings. The brain dump allows for you to attack the day clear-headed without junk from the previous day clouding your mind. Try these two simple things to get started:
- Buy a journal
- Read a passage or quote for the day, reflect on how it makes you feel and how it affects you
The right plan and coach may be a necessity for you to live the healthier, stronger, and leaner life you’ve always wanted. At Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness, we offer you both nutrition and fitness coaching, from personal training to group CrossFit classes we have the keys to help you reach your goals!
Our personal trainers and group coaches value lifting weights, and using multi-jointed, functional exercises performed at high intensity. You don’t have to guess what to do!
To find the perfect nutrition and workout routine for you, schedule a free consultation with one of our coaches here! → I’M READY TO MEET WITH A COACH!
COACH PHIL KNIEP – Owner & CEO of Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness
Precision Nutrition L1 Coach
CrossFit Level 3 Trainer
3x CrossFit Games Qualifier