Winter Is Coming!
While you don’t need to worry about any ‘White Walkers’ attacking you, what might be coming at you from nowhere is S.A.D. Now before you start this blog, please understand there are a bunch of affiliated ad links as well as some shameful plugs to our 6 week challenge and our up coming workout tour...but if you know me...then you expected this lol)
No more sun beaming through the curtains at 6am, no more birds chirping their little songs in the morning, the days begin to feel shorter, it seems like your friends want to do less stuff with you and even the music you are hearing sounds a bit more mehh. It’s more Adele, Summer (Irony) Walker & Mary J Blige and less Migos, Beyonce & Lil Baby. You are avoiding invitations to do stuff (even more) and the thought of ‘turning up’, ‘getting lit’ or being wasted seems like soooo much effort. All you feel like squeezing in is work and chill. You ain’t even got time for all the boo’s you have in your DM’s and you are about to settle on the one that gives you less stress for the winter.
Key word here…Winter.
What if it’s more than this though?
Do you feel like your body genuinely has less energy?
Do you find yourself feeling that little bit more introverted?
Does the day seem that little bit more doom and gloom even when you don’t think you have a reason for it to feel that way?
Are you sleeping more?
Is your appetite changing or do you have weight gain?
Loss of interest in activities you usually love?
These might be the symptoms of you feeing S.A.D
Seasonal Affective Disorder: A form of depression that is triggered by changes in daylight and weather that occurs primarily in the winter.
Why is this happening? (Let’s hit you with the science).
Scientists aren’t certain exactly why, but some feel that the seasonal changes disrupts our body’s circadian rhythm. This is the 24hr body clock that regulates how we function during times we are asleep and times we are awake. It’s what helps provide the energy for when we most need it and provides that drowsy feeling that makes us hit the sheets. The dramatic decrease in sunshine hours from summer to winter throws your body off its normal track. You just went from a carnival street party in a bikini and feathers through the heat and sun, right up until at least 10.30pm to waking up and its dark, travelling to work and its dark, then getting out of the office and it is still dark!
Another reason thought to affect us is the changing of seasons disrupting our levels of serotonin and melatonin.
Serotonin: Sometimes known as the happy chemical, because it appears to play an important role in regulating mood, and low levels of serotonin in the brain have been associated with depression.
Melatonin: A unique hormone produced by the pineal gland in the middle of your brain that is only released in the dark. It prepares your body for sleep and typically, melatonin levels increase in the bloodstream about two hours before bed. This causes a sleepy feeling, resulting in a restful night.
So, your happy chemicals are being lowered and the sleepy chemicals are being increased by the night time popping up much earlier than your actual bedtime resulting in… S.A.D
Is it affecting everyone?
4-6% of people have diagnosed S.A.D and as many as 20% have a mild form of S.A.D. However, let’s keep it 100%, how many of us would phone up the doctors to tell them you are feeling sad because its dark outside?
Exactly… So we probably can’t be sure that S.A.D is being diagnosed as often as it should be.
So What Can We Do? (Your 8 Steps)
1. Ready Your Mind In Autumn
Start before winter actually sets in, before it gets dark, before the winter blues take over. Start a 6 week challenge (Ahemm), pick up a hobby, create a group chat, go out and do some group activities (SBL On Tour Tickets ON SALE NOW…for example, hint hint) rather than starting from scratch when winter is here.
Your body responds well to bright light, even if the light is artificial. 20-30 minutes with your larger lights on rather than just a lamp can help keep your circadian rhythm on track. Also, dawn simulators (buy one here) can be a good pick up, as they work similar to alarms but as well as being awoken by a noise, a light similar to the sun rising will also shine.
3. Vitamin D
The UK’s sun between October - March doesn’t contain enough UVB alone for your body to produce Vitamin D (healthy bones & teeth). So we need to recruit more from foods like oily fish, red meat, fortified cereal and vitamin D supplements (some good ones here).
4. Get Moving
Hugely important (and not just because we have a 6 week challenge that will get you moving), exercise triggers a release of dopamine and serotonin (happy chemicals) which…will make you feel…happier.
Stretching, Yoga & Pilates (a huge focus in the 6 week challenge) helps your muscles to loosen up and disperse any lactic acid build up from working out or even from your day to day activities. This results in your body feeling looser, providing less tension both physically & mentally and leaving you in a better state to focus on the things more important.
6. Keep A Journal
Keeping a journal or noting down your thoughts and feelings of the day can be great way to dispel anything negative that’s trying to build a house and live in your brain. This can provide you with a fresh blank canvas to start the next day.
7. Schedule The Week
Write down a loose schedule for the week and establish your wake up, sleep, eating and workout times. Now, the key word is loose, don’t get too worked up if you are moving later than your schedule, but exposing your body to a regular time of waking up and going to sleep will help your circadian rhythm. Eating at regular intervals will help avoid overeating and scheduling your work out will do wonders to helping you to commit to seeing your exercise through.
8. Talk To A Doctor
If all of the above are not working for you or if the feeling of depression is very heavy before even trying, then contact your local GP. Do not be discouraged or feel embarrassed by S.A.D. It is something that is very real and can lead to a very negative impact on your well being. Doctors can prescribe both time speaking with professionals and/ or drugs if needed.
Winter Is Coming 6 Week Challenge
Now if you haven’t realised from the not so subtle hints dotted throughout this blog, Snatched By Lo is providing you a 6 week challenge (sign up here) to combat the affects of S.A.D and best prepare you for the months ahead.
We will have our usual daily workouts which will get your body moving and endorphins flowing with a focus on yoga/ pilate sessions to provide a space to zone out from all the factors of life and allow you to breathe deeply and centre yourself again.
There will be weekly tasks such as go for a walk or a jog, that will help increase your mindfulness and exposure to the little sunlight we will be having. Followed by weekly check ins where you will be able to note your progression of how many workouts, yoga sessions and tasks you have completed (completing small achievable tasks does wonders for confidence, happiness and motivation to accomplish bigger tasks).
So join now for only £12.50 and get involved with a community of over 400 men and women all trying to not let winter kick our ass.
Take a look at what week one looks like below