Staying Active in the Winter Months: As the seasons change and it gets cold, dark, and wet outside, it can be hard to stay motivated to stay active. If you are a regular gym goer, you have your gym membership and workout routine to fall back on. If you are not comfortable in a gym setting, it can be a little more daunting.
Tips for Fighting Seasonal Affect Disorder
Trying indoor activities such as climbing walls, dance, or yoga classes might be an option. Or, if you like a challenge, there are drop-in sports like sledge hockey which give you the opportunity to try something new and get to know some of the very talented wheelchair athletes in your area (http://sportabilitybc.ca/programs/sledge-hockey/ ). There are also dozens of short day hikes all around the Victoria area for people of all levels of ability, from the fully wheelchair, walker, and cane accessible breakwater down at Dallas road to the more advanced Coast Trail loop to Beachy Head at Alyard Farm in East Sooke Regional park.
short day hikes
Find a buddy and go together! One of the easiest ways to stay motivated is to find a like-minded exercise buddy to keep things interesting and give you someone to encourage and hold you accountable. To top it off social interactions with people you like can elevate your mood and energy, decreasing the grip seasonal affect disorder can have on you.
Why Does it Matter? The most obvious reason to stay active through the darker months is so that we are fit and ready to tackle all the activities we want to do as the days start getting brighter and longer in the Spring. For all of us northern hemisphere coastal dwellers less day light can effect our affect(mood)! Many people experience some level of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD in the darker months of the year. SAD can result in lower energy levels, depression, loss of motivation and can effect every aspect of your life from your relationships to your work and beyond. There is a huge amount of evidence that exercise can help combat the symptoms of SAD and keep you on track through the cold winter months. **(For a more detailed list of SAD symptoms, please check out this link: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad.htm )
So Get Out There and Have Fun! So whatever your activity of choice, rather than seeing the winter as a time to hibernate and put on holiday pounds, take the opportunity to try something new and keep moving! Actively fight seasonal affect disorder today. There are many great resources here in Victoria for outreach options to assist with people experiencing all levels of mental health challenges.
Seasonal Affect Disorder Resources:
Mood Disorders Association of BC
Visit www.mdabc.net or call 1-855-282-7979 for resources and info on mood disorders. You’ll also find more information on support groups in BC.
Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division
Visit www.cmha.bc.ca or call 1-800-555-8222 for info and community resources on mental health or any mental illness.
BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information
Visit www.heretohelp.bc.ca for info sheets and personal stories about seasonal affective disorder. You’ll also find more information, tips and self-tests to help you understand many different mental health problems.
Call 811 or visit www.healthlinkbc.ca to access free, non-emergency health information for anyone in your family, including mental health information. Through 811, you can also speak to a registered nurse about symptoms you’re worried about, or talk with a pharmacist about medication questions.
Crisis lines aren’t only for people in crisis. You can call for information on local services or if you just need someone to talk to. If you are in distress, call 310-6789 24 hours a day to connect to a trained mental health BC crisis line operator.