Total Therapy Blog
Beating the June-uary Blues
The calendar might say summer, but the temperature is more reminiscent of mid-March. If you feel your spirits dropping with the mercury, you’re not alone. Truth is, most of us feel a little glum.
In fact, weather plays a significant role in most people’s mood – and not just in a “I-hate-the-rain” kind of way. Approximately 1 in 5 Canadians experience some form of mood disorder related to seasonal weather variation (HereToHelp). Lack of sunlight can also cause sleep patterns disturbances and even bone density loss (TheNewYorkTimes).
We can’t change the weather, but we can mitigate its effects in a relatively simple way – by being active. Exercise is the yin to rainy weather’s yang – its physiological effects run counter to the depressive aspects of grey skies and lack of sunlight. Exercise has been shown to:
- Reduce stress
- Decrease cortisol levels (the ‘stress’ hormone)
- Improve sleep patterns
- Address melatonin imbalances
- Increase bone density
- Elevate mood
- Boost energy levels
A little bit goes a long way. Three, 10-minute bursts of activity throughout your day can be as effective as a 30-minute walk. Here are some ideas:
1. Jump rope.
Haven’t done this since you were a kid? Jump rope is a great way to get your heart rate up in a hurry, and it doesn’t take much equipment or space. Try spacing out 10-minute spurts throughout your day (e.g. morning, lunch break, end of day).
Work in an office with stairs? Have stairs at home? Try going up and down for 10 minutes. You’d be surprised how effective this one can be at elevating your heart rate.
3. Make walking a part of your commute.
If you take transit to work, try getting off a stop early and then walking the rest of the way. A 15 minute add-on to your morning and evening commute is 30 minutes of extra activity each day. If you drive, try parking a few blocks away and then walking the rest of the distance.
4. Play with the kids.
If you’ve got a young family, playing with the kids is a great way to get everyone active – not to mention a fun family experience. Take the kids to the park after work and join in the play. Even if it’s only 20 minutes, a quick game of tag can go a long way.
Summer may be a long time in coming, but don’t let grey skies drag you down. Get out, get active, and say goodbye to the June-uary blues.