In recent months I’ve see more awareness of how hormones, mental health, nutrition and other such factors affect training. There’s another thing that I know affects my mental health and therefore my training ad my diet – autumn!
I have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) – often known as Winter Depression. Well, that’s not strictly true, I take medication for depression and anxiety all year round but I find it’s always worse in the winter months. In particular autumn is the hardest because there’s the change between longer summer days and light evenings and it getting dark not long after I leave work, at least by winter I guess I’ve got a bit used to it.
I find it more uplifting to wake up and leave to teach and it be light or finish an evening class and feel light. Once I need to shut the curtains my brain starts to switch off and all I want to do is climb into my pyjamas and go to bed, so once it gets dark earlier getting things done in the evening just feels so much harder.
This of course has an impact on my training – going out in the dark to get to the gym feels so unappealing, in comparison to leaving the gym at 9pm and still feeling like it’s day time in summer. I always start to want more comfort food come autumn too as the urge to hibernate kicks in.
Knowing that this is generally how I always feel come autumn I’ve learnt a few things to counteract this over the years:
- I invested in a light box – a box that gives out UV style rays which can help increase the amount of daylight you get a day which in turn can be beneficial to your mood.
- Getting outside and walking during the day when it is light is also a key thing for me. The less fresh air I get, the more likely I am to get run down and feel ill.
- Taking not only my medication daily (which isn’t always as easy as it sounds) but also vitamins (multi vitamin, iron supplement, Vitamin D and a high dose of Omega 3) helps
- Trying to train earlier in the day so if motivation drops I’ve got it out the way already, plus once I do train often I will feel better come darkness time anyway.
Still, even though I know it’ll pass I can’t wait for spring to come again!