During the past several months we all have been subjected to isolation with a diminished ability to do the things that we’re accustomed to doing on a regular basis. This has left a great deal of us feeling the blues nearly all year. And now that winter is here, many folks will find themselves feeling an extra dose of sadness – the upcoming colder weather, shorter days, and holidays that may remind us of missed loved ones can cause some of us to experience seasonal sadness.
These feelings may be hard to dismiss, and we understand. This year has brought a lot of us into experiences that we never thought we’d have. It may be hard to see the light at the end of this tunnel, but remember that there are things that you can do to help beat the winter blues and “Carpe diem”, or “seize the day”.
1) Brighten Your Day (Literally) – The vitamin D from natural light can help to improve your mood. Many of our locations have windows throughout the facility so even if it’s cold outside you can still experience natural sunlight through our windows and skylights! And when you’re at home, opening your blinds and curtains is also a brilliant way to receive your daily dose of Vitamin D.
2) Get Eventful – Whether you’re looking forward to an upcoming party or celebration, planning to redecorate for the spring, or waiting for a package to arrive, anticipating some type of event can help to create positive feelings and excitement and start to pull you out of the winter blues. If you can’t think of something to look forward to, American Family Fitness has plenty of Group Fitness and Aquatics classes that you can take. Prefer one-on-one attention? Schedule a consultation with a Personal Trainer. Whatever you like, put it on your calendar so you have something to look forward to!
3) Stick to a Schedule – When experiencing the winter blues, it can be tempting to alter your schedule and avoid things that need to get done. Try your best not to let your routines get beat by the winter blues — if you always prepare dinner at a certain time every day, try to stick to that same schedule. Or if you typically attended our Tuesday morning water fitness class at your favorite facility, be sure to log in to your Motionvibe App and mark it as a favorite so you get reminders not to miss it!
4) Fuel Your Feelings With A Balanced Diet – Eating a balanced diet is essential and is a natural way to boost your energy and your mood. Provide your body with the right combination of proteins, carbohydrates, dairy products, fruits and vegetables (we suggest taking a look at the US Department of Agriculture’s guidance on nutrition for the general population at www.choosemyplate.gov, or working with a dietician if you have individual dietary needs). Try your best to avoid the temptation to chow down on unhealthy snacks, and instead snack on complex carbohydrates and super foods such as hummus, blueberries, and Greek yogurt.
5) Lift Your Mood By Lifting Your Heart Rate – Exercise is vital to lifting you up during the winter months. Colder weather doesn’t have to stop your workouts – take them indoors with us! American Family Fitness offers numerous Group Fitness and Aquatics classes that appeal to all ages and fitness levels, or one-on-one training with a Personal Trainer. You can also enjoy other forms of activities in our facilities like stretching, walking, and resistance workouts. Now, if the temperature outside isn’t too cold, a nice brisk walk outdoors is an excellent choice. Everyone needs fresh air, and you will be absorbing vitamin D. (Remember tip #1?) Just remember to dress in layers!
6) Accomplish a Goal – If you’ve been putting off a task, whether big or small, now is the time to tackle it. Add it to your to-do list, and once it’s finished, cross it off. This can help you feel motivated and can motivate you to tackle other items from your list. So, maybe you’ve taken one of our water fitness classes before, but how many of you have tried swimming or walking laps? If you haven’t done this before, this could be a new goal for the upcoming months. How about setting a goal to swim or walk 5 laps, 10 laps or maybe a ½ mile (16 ½ laps) or 1 mile (33 laps)? Walking in the water has much greater resistance than walking on a treadmill, and this can increase your caloric expenditure in the same amount of time! Whatever your goal, write it down, do it, mark it off your list, and that feeling of accomplishment will provide and instant mood lift.
7) Socialize – Connecting with other people can lift your spirits. Get together (virtually) with friends or family or simply give them a call. If you’re missing that in-person connection, consider attending one of our Group Fitness or Aquatics classes – you’ll remain 10 feet apart from your gym fam, but you’ll still be able to connect with them and experience an awesome workout together. Or maybe meet up with a buddy and work out on our various pieces of equipment. You’ll be marking off several of these 7 tips in one fell swoop!
Don’t forget that feeling sad during the winter is somewhat common amongst many, so if you are sharing the feelings described in this article, please know you aren’t alone. Always remember to consult with your healthcare professional if changing your exercise routine or diet, or if you are concerned about your sad feelings. And while the tips listed above can help lift you out of the winter blues, we encourage you to contact your doctor if your sad feelings last for several weeks or if your symptoms keep you from living a healthy life.