How to Beat the Winter Blues

How to Beat the Winter Blues

A few weeks Winter showed up in Ottawa…early. Or at least earlier than normal. It snowed. It was cold and windy. And I wasn’t ready for it.

To be honest, I’m never really ready for Winter (I would live in Summer weather year round), but to have such cold and snow mid-November was a bit of a surprise.

For a few days I felt really depressed. All I wanted to do was hibernate. You know, stay in my pjs and curl up under a blanket. But of course, I have clients to train and work to do.

You’re Not the Only One

On the third day of feeling really crummy, I decided enough was enough. Despite *knowing* exercise helps, I had been skipping my workouts because I didn’t feel like doing them. That was going to change so I posted the following on my Facebook page:

“Anyone else having a hard time with this early winter?! I sure am. Been feeling down and not doing my workouts. I know exercise makes you feel better so today I’m “forcing” myself to do my workout. Sometimes you have to make yourself do it even though you don’t “feel like it”.
If you can relate, a good trick is to tell yourself you’ll just do 15 min. Most times, after you start you’ll realize you can go a bit longer.
Let’s all try to stay positive (and warm). HUGS
– Coach Lydia”

I assumed I wasn’t the only one who felt this way… and guess what? I wasn’t! I got a bunch of comments back with people saying they felt the same way.

If you are feeling down because of the weather, know that you aren’t the only one. It might be hard to admit it, but opening up and talking with others actually really helps.

Tips to Beat the Blahs

Exercise. As talked about above, exercise can help you feel better. It releases endorphins, gets your blood flowing, and gives you more energy. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day. Get a mixture of strength training, cardio and flexibility/stretching over the week.

Get enough sleep. Our bodies crave more sleep in the Winter and that’s ok. Listen to your body and go to bed earlier. Create a bedtime routine and avoid electronics before bed.

Eat healthy whole foods. Choose fresh food and eat a variety of fruits and vegetables (aim for at least one of each color per day). Avoid high sugar and processed foods as much as possible. Your body will likely crave carbs because of their temporary release of serotonin (makes you feel happy), but excess carbs can lead to weight gain.

Have fun with friends. While you may be tempted to crawl into a shell, social interaction is extremely important and helpful. Reach out to a friend and make plans to do something fun.

Identify and reduce stressors. Take a look at what is causing stress in your life and make changes so that stress levels can be reduced.

Take vitamin D. Increase your vitamin D intake during the Winter months.

These are things that I’ve personally found helping in fighting off the Winter Blues. I try to consistently follow these tips and encourage you to do the same.

Lydia Di Francesco, Personal Trainer

IMPORTANT: If you experience long-lasting feelings of anxiety or depression please go see your Doctor and don’t be embarrassed or ashamed. They may refer you to a Therapist or prescribe medication.

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Lydia Di Francesco is the Founder of Fit & Healthy 365 and Creator of the 15 Minute Workout Club, an online workout membership site. As a Certified Personal Trainer, Lydia educates clients and the public that healthy living doesn’t need to be complicated. She promotes simple, fun, exercise, self-care, and creating a healthy mindset with a long-term approach to wellness.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Jennifer Forbes Walker

    Great post Lydia!