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Navigating Through S.A.D.

Laurie Andrews, of LAT Wellness Studio, is here with Pt.1 of tips for navigating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) a type of depression that hits many this time of year.

We all hear the phrase “just exercise” to help with depression, especially with seasonal depression. Easy enough, right? What about the exhaustion, lack of motivation, fatigue, achy joints, and the negative components? Not to mention, the holiday season can be a very triggering time for those experiencing trauma. "So.. You are asking me to workout while feeling that way?!" Good news! Wellness is not just about movement. Let’s focus on the 8 dimensions of wellness and see which one you want to start with first. Just pick one! You may be amazed at the power of taking the first step toward fighting your Seasonal Affective Disorder. Dimension one: Emotional “Emotional wellness involves observing your feelings, behaviors, values, and attitudes and developing an understanding and acceptance of them.” Ways to improve emotional wellness:

  1. Begin or increase therapy sessions with a licensed therapist.

  2. Listen to podcasts or read books that discuss managing emotions and difficult situations/traumas.

  3. Find a friend you can safely express how you are feeling to and dissect your emotions.

Dimension two: Physical “Physical wellness is all about caring for your body to stay as healthy and energetic as possible throughout your life.” Ways to improve physical wellness:

  1. Improve one nutritional habit. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional for guidance.

  2. Move intentionally 10 minutes a day (or more depending on your starting point). If you have a hard time committing, find an accountability partner or trainer that can be there for encouragement!

  3. Be sure to maintain a sleep schedule. Find a time you can be mostly consistent with and stick to it! Your brain and immune system love sleep regularity.

Dimension three: Occupational “Occupational wellness goes beyond having your basic needs for food, water, and shelter accounted for. It has to do with taking pride and satisfaction in your job performance and progress.” Ways to improve occupational wellness:

  1. Volunteer for an organization that aligns with your ethics and values.

  2. Find how you can integrate your passions or skills into your daily job. Talk with a leader at work if you're struggling to find ways to incorporate this.

  3. Set a small goal that you can visualize to increase your motivation at your job. Or maybe you stay home? What is a small project you would like to tackle?

There are many ideas above to inspire a first step! An important element is to be aware of where you need help. Don't be afraid to ask for that help, take one step at a time, and watch your mindset this season begin to move in a more positive direction! Definitions sited from: Strategies and solutions from Laurie Andrews, ACSM CEP *Find the remaining dimensions next week on the blog!

Laurie Andrews is a clinically certified exercise physiologist, owner, and head trainer at LAT Wellness Studio in Smith Mountain Lake, VA. LAT offers personal training, group classes, virtual options, and holistic guidance for people at every stage along their wellness journey.


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