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Seasonal Stress and Blues

Jennifer Czepiel

Through out the year, there are always reasons not to stick to your workout. There are just as many reasons to push through. In the winter months, especially in colder climates, just getting through the things you need to do to survive can be difficult enough. Grey skies, and chill air has an effect on more than just your joints and muscles. Our moods can be deeply affected by the poor weather.

Seasonal Affected Disorder, or SAD, is something that many people suffer through during the bleak days of winter months. Depression like symptoms that turn up only in the cold weather may be signs of this disorder, and it is not something to just brush off. If you find yourself not feeling as up and energetic as you typically tend to be, you may be suffering from this more common than it seems, emotional disorder.

One of the primary reasons for Seasonal Affected Disorder and depression, is a lack of vitamin D. Even if we are trying to be outside just as often as we are in warmer weather the sky itself is often just not as blue. Heavier cloud cover is typical in the winter months, no matter the climate you live in. Days are also much shorter in the winter. For those of us who work indoors, in an office, are at school, or work in a retail space during the day, it is much more likely that by the time we clock out at the end of the day, we are leaving in the dark. It is equally likely that we leave the house in the morning and have to turn the headlights on in the car. The lack of sun, equates to deficiencies in vitamin D and leads to the depressed moods of the winter season.

Stress is another factor in the feeling low even during the holidays. To be blunt, the stress may be caused by the holidays themselves. So many of us are in places of economic uncertainty throughout the year, the holidays can add the extra pressure of gift buying, parties, special clothing, and travel costs. All of this on top of the stress of final exams for students, increased work hours and customers for retail workers, and less work hours for office staff can be a perfect storm of hair pulling stress over the cobwebs growing in your wallet.

Often the very people we are supposed to be excited to gether with during the holidays are the ones who will cause us the most emotional trouble. For those who host the family and friend gatherings, there are living spaces to clean and decorate, there is food to purchase and prepare, and there are schedules to work around. Having loved ones in our personal space can be troubling even if we do love them dearly. It is not only the workout schedule that suffers, but our dietary outlines and sleep patterns.

Give yourself credit during the next couple of weeks. Anything you do get done is great, anything that does not happen, well, let it go, and consider it a break.

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