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5 tips to tackle seasonal depression

Author: Chloé Rochette, trainer and founder of Mouvement HappyFitness

November 15th, 2017

Duration 4 min.

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When the sun shines, it’s easy to feel lighthearted. When it rains, everything seems more of a pain. You don’t need to be a psychologist to know weather has an effect on moods! Seasonal depression, though, is a very real condition caused by hormonal fluctuations. In fall and winter, shorter days and lack of sunlight affect the production of serotonin, the happiness hormone, as well as melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep cycles and moods.[1]

Since the change of seasons is inevitable, what can you do to counter the undesirable effects of seasonal depression and recover your zest for life?

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We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: The best way to keep in good spirits year-round is to stay active!

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Get moving

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: The best way to keep in good spirits year-round is to stay active! Many studies have shown that not only does exercise improve physical health, but it also relieves the symptoms of depression[1].

The plan: Set a goal for yourself to get moving ten minutes a day, every day. This is the challenge we’re issuing and will be taking up with you. Whether it’s walking, yoga, stair climbing, running, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, dancing, pilates, climbing... EVERYTHING COUNTS! The only rule to follow is to stay active for a minimum of ten minutes, every day. Why ten minutes? Because, it's such a short amount of time that it would be silly not to do it. With such a realistic goal, you’re more likely to be active every day and keep your smile in place!

If the spirit moves you, you can even take part in the HappyFitness #easysqueeze challenge, which consists of getting moving ten minutes a day throughout the month of November!

Walking on sunshine

Lack of light is a major contributing factor to fatigue and mood swings. To keep your spirits up, you’ll have to get out there and walk in the sunshine.

The plan: Try to spend 10 to 30 minutes a day outside before the sun sets. Savvy souls will combine their sun seeking with their daily get-moving routine to reap a maximum of benefits! When you’re indoors, try to stay close to windows to absorb even more light.

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Naturally, you should eat good meals packed with nutrients all year long. However, it’s even more important to do so when seasonal fatigue has us in its sights.

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Eat balanced meals

In order to digest rich and heavy meals, the body has to do a lot of work. Ideally, you should eat good meals packed with nutrients all year long. However, it’s even more important to do so when seasonal fatigue has you in its sights.

The plan: To stay energized and happy, make sure you prepare balanced dishes at every meal. Half of your plate should be vegetables and fruits, one quarter, protein (tofu, fish, legumes, etc.) and the other quarter, complex carbohydrates (brown rice, sweet potato, whole-wheat bread, oatmeal).

Meditate

As is the case with staying active, meditation is proven to help alleviate symptoms of depression, reduce stress and provide a boost of energy.[1]

The plan: As many yoga classes include meditation interludes, why not combine your relaxation and breathing sessions with your daily get-moving routine by practicing yoga! Or, meditate for a few minutes when you go to bed at night or before going to work in the morning. At this point, you’ve probably caught on that we’re big 2-for-1 fans. For example, why not combine your meditation session with your outdoor time?

With such a realistic goal, the chances are good you’ll stay active on a daily basis and keep the smiles coming!

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With such a realistic goal, the chances are good you’ll stay active on a daily basis and keep the smiles coming!

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Stay healthy in good company

Motivating others and spending time with people you like will boost your energy and morale.

The plan: This fall, make it a point to spend time with friends, so you can offer each other mutual support and keep the winter blues at bay! Prepare a good meal together, spend time outside and choose activities that get you moving! When you’re with friends, everything is easier and more fun. Besides, isolation is rarely a good morale booster!

Applying these five tips will help you keep your spirits up and chase away the winter blues and fatigue! That said, keep in mind seasonal depression is a very real condition caused by hormonal changes, and it may require treatment by health professionals. Don’t hesitate to consult a psychologist or a doctor to find out about other healing options.

We hope you have a lot of fun playing in the leaves and snow as the fall season progresses! Let us know your secrets for keeping a smile on your face all year long on Brunet's Facebook page!

Sources:

Chloé Rochette, Personal Trainer | HappyFitness

Sport has always been a part of Chloe’s life and she became a coach to share, with as many people as possible, the happiness it has brought to her. A dancer, skier and former triathlete, she is now a personal trainer and founder of Le Mouvement HappyFitness—a company with which she hopes to make a difference in people's lives by showing them the joys of being active and healthy.

*Available in French only

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