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Seasonal depression can take its toll

Wellbeing

Seasonal depression can take its toll

CAITLYN HUTH understands the ‘heaviness’ of winter can be hard to shake but it’s worth it for our bodies to continue exercising.

As the mercury begins to take a dive and clouds start looming over a little more regularly, it is obvious that winter is here.

Along with this, we can’t help but find ourselves really digging deep for motivation to get moving or even searching for a good ounce of productivity throughout the day.

Changes in the season very much still have an impact on our biology, despite the change in our culture and increased everyday busy-ness of our lifestyles.  And while this is something that will impact most of us, those already dealing with the weight of depression may expect to feel a greater heaviness with this.

The science behind it? Part of it is attributed to the primal times where winter meant food was scarce, environments were harsh and it was a time to focus on shelter and survival. This part is still wired in our brain all these years later.

Another part comes with the signals we receive from the sun that regulates our circadian rhythm.  The blue light from the bright, blue sky signals cortisol (our ‘be alert’ button), so we are more inclined to be active.

So what can you do to shake the heaviness this season?

Seeking natural light exposure is an effective way to signal the body to regulate energy, encourage Vitamin D production (which supports the immune system – a much-needed function in this season) and bring a mood boost.  This counts on cloudy days.

Activity fuels activity – whether it’s a 30-second, whole-body shake, a 20-minute walk or dancing to your favourite songs.  A dose of activity amid the stillness will encourage metabolic activity, providing your cells with momentary energy, along with bumping up heart rate and giving your brain a break from the sluggishness.

While these sound temporary or in the moment, more frequent bouts of this exposure throughout the day and weeks have a greater compound effect on our health.

Sure, it’s not ground-breaking, but this may be the thing you can easily implement to give a little extra energy here and there that carries you through those dreary, cold days.

 Caitlyn Huth is an exercise physiologist at Full Circle Wellness. Call 5456 1599 or visit fullcirclewellness.com.au

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