Friday, October 31, 2014

Falling Back

The leaves are almost gone from the trees.  There's a permanent chill in the air.  There's frost on your car in the early hours of the morning, and let's be honest, there are more Christmas decorations in stores already than there were Hallowe'en.

Welcome to the time of the Autumn season where we "Fall Back" an hour.  Tomorrow night before bed (November 1st) we turn our clocks back, which means an extra hour of sleep (yay!) but less daylight (boo).

When you're getting up in the dark, and you're getting home in the dark, it's hard on your body & mind.  It's easy to fall into the routine of being in your workplace during the day, and staying indoors in the evening.  We turn to comfort food (hello, Mac & Cheese!) and fall victim to prime time television.  

While this all sounds like it isn't too big of a deal, our bodies & minds crave & need the daylight.  Without daylight, we become sluggish, our minds become slower, and our metabolism slows down.  Some people will deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D), and some will become depressed and deal with anxiety.  

So how can you deal with the time change?  Here are some tips!

1) Maximize your exposure to daylight.  It may be something as simple as a walk on your lunch hour.  If it's cold, bundle up, grab some mittens, and a coworker or pet, and take a 20-30 minute walk.  While you're walking, breathe in the air, and soak in the daylight.  Studies show that 30 minutes of daylight will energize your body & mind for the rest of the day.

2) Participate in outdoor activities you enjoy!  Do you enjoy going for hikes?  Take a trip up to the Gatineau Hills.  Like to ski?  There are amazing ski hills just 30 minutes away.  More of a "walk with a friend" kind of person?  Get some friends together for a morning walk before work, or start a Learn to Run group.

3) Practice healthy habits.  Eat well.  Sleep well.  Exercise. These three activities will be your best friends throughout the Fall/Winter months.

4) Follow your schedule. If you are taking medications, continue to take them at their appropriate times, and talk to your doctor if you think you need any adjustments.  If you are able to, under the advice of your doctor, consider taking a Vitamin D supplement as well, to boost your daily intake.

5) Watch for signs of S.A.D.  If you are feeling depression, anxious, stressed, and you aren't entirely sure why, you could be suffering from S.A.D.  Reach out to your doctor, and our 24/7 phone lines to talk about what you are feeling.  

You know how great the sunshine feels, so when Mr.Sun is out during the day, consider going out to say hello to the sun, and smile while his warm rays shine down on you!

As always, we are here for you anytime you need us.  613-238-3311.  Visit us online as well at www.dcottawa.on.ca 

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