Exercise

“Zumba has literally changed my life. I even sold my S.A.D. light because of it. I can now go dancing three times a week! More if I need it. I haven’t eliminated S.A.D. all together but I know I could never do without Zumba now. Rainy miserable Monday morning? Don’t care. It’s Zumba time!! “ – Susan

Scientists have known for some time that exercise is not only good for the body but also for mental health.  In the process of exercising the brain releases a number of neurochemicals that are known to improve mood.  This suggests that, although we are at a time in the year where the last thing we want to do is get energetic, it might be something that can really help us.

I am not suggesting you join a gym or start running marathons, although don’t let me get in the way if you feel inspired, but bringing some form of regular exercise into your life can greatly improve your physical and mental health.

If you find exercise something hard to fit into your life then start small, any exercise is better than none.  Take a walk during your lunch break or take the stairs instead of the lift.  Work to increase your activity levels at a rate you are comfortable with and find things that you enjoy.

This is something that I personally have problems with and for me it was important to find a way to exercise that fitted into my life.  I tried the gym and the swimming pool and found that the time it took to get ready and get home again made it impossible to fit it into my schedule.  Instead I have found that a x-trainer in the spare room and watching TED talks works better for me and I am much more likely to get on it than if I had to leave the house.  For others it may help to have a “gym buddie” that helps encourage you by going along at the same time.

Listen to your body and do what works for you.  It could be something gentle like walking, tai chi or yoga or something more energetic like zumba.

Increased light exposure

If you are able to find a form of exercise that takes you outside during the day you will find an added benefit of increased light exposure that will help with all of your SAD symptoms.  A great time to go for a walk is when there is snow on the ground.  The sunlight reflecting off snow gives a wonderful level of light and can be quite invigorating.  Wrap up warm and go for a walk in the snow, you might come back feeling positively euphoric.

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