How to Cope with Seasonal Sadness

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is no joke. I never really noticed I get the blahs until I moved to Pennsylvania. I’ve always lived in warm sunny states. During the fall, winter, and spring months, I feel blah and uninterested in most activities.

Our first year living in PA, I distinctly remember shoveling snow in late April, telling my husband it is not supposed to snow in the spring. I remember asking him why anyone would choose to live in a state where you had to shovel in April. I’m pretty sure I was ranting because we obviously chose to live in a state where I had to shovel in April. I remember being frustrated that I had to wear my winter coat at the end of May.

May!!! It’s ludicrous!

Now that I’ve lived here for four years, I know what to expect and those things don’t bother me as much. Unfortunately, I still get the symptoms every year.

 

 
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So, what is SAD?

SAD is a type of depression that occurs when the season changes. It usually affects people in either the fall/winter months or spring/summer months.

 

Symptoms 

Typical symptoms include: 

  • Feeling depressed

  • Loss of interest

  • Low energy

  • Sleep loss (spring/summer)

  • Sleeping too much (fall/winter)

  • High appetite (fall/winter)

  • Low appetite (spring/summer)

  • Weight gain (fall/winter)

  • Weight loss (spring/summer)

  • Feeling blah (fall/winter)

  • Feeling anxiety (spring/summer)

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Negative feelings such as guilt or hopelessness

  • Thoughts of death and suicide

 

When to get help

It can be confusing to understand the difference between feeling blah and straight up depression. It’s best to seek help when you feel you need help and if any of your symptoms have been lasting for long periods of time and/or interrupt your normal activities and routines. Also, seek help if you are using drugs or alcohol to cope or you have thoughts of death or suicide.

 

Ways to treat SAD

There are many ways to treat minor symptoms of SAD.

  • Continue normal routine and activities

  • Eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, lean protein and fats

  • Up your vitamin D intake

  • If you’re unable to find fresh produce, eat frozen produce

  • For fall/winter SAD, plan a vacation somewhere warm and sunny

  • Exercise

  • Spend time with pets

  • Declutter your home

  • Spend time outdoors

  • Spend time in the sun and open all blinds and curtains

  • Light therapy

  • Meditate

  • Engage in activities you enjoy

  • Socialize

  • Consistent sleep schedule

  • Speak to a profession or attend therapy

 

Do you have any tips on how to deal with SAD?

Yoga Teacher Training Weekend #3 Recap

Guys, I’m halfway through my yoga teacher training! I can hardly believe it. After this weekend, I’ll have three months left. It crazy how fast it is going by.

  

 
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Friday

Friday’s YTT began like it does every Friday, we started with an hour long vinyasa class followed by feedback. In the beginning of our YTT when we started giving feedback, I wondered if the instructors would take our feedback serious and they actually do. I gave the teacher feedback three weeks ago and she actually implemented it. For this teacher, I told her when she walked around it felt like she was pacing which was distracting. This time she was more purposeful in her movements.

The second part of our training was a workshop on chakras and reiki. The teachers that taught this workshop had a calming presence that I really liked.

During one of the activities, we paired up with a partner and without touching and our eyes closed sent positive and bright vibes to the other person. My friend and I didn’t feel anything other than the heat from yoga class and bright lights from the overhead. Next, we were told to shut ourselves off from each other and to not send any vibes out. We felt coolness and darkness rush over us. We were shocked. We realized that the heat and brightness we felt minutes earlier was the energy we were sending out.

 

Saturday

Saturday started with a vinyasa class and feedback. We covered the iliopsoas in our anatomy discussion, pose breakdown, and assist. For our philosophy and self-study, we discussed the yamas and niyamas and what resonated most with us.

I can honestly say I resonated with several of the yamas and niyamas, but the one that really hit home was tapas. Tapas is focused on self-discipline and asks us to continually grow and improve ourselves. This includes anything that will prompt us into a positive change. When we engage in tapas we feel heat from the burning of impurities. You become heated when engaging in exercising, when breaking old habits, when changing direction in life, or any other positive change.

After our self-study discussion, we broke into small groups and taught an opening sequence, sun A, and sun B then discussed how to cue a creative sequence. We ended our day with a short meditation.

 

Sunday

Sunday started with a short meditation discussion then we broke off into small groups and created a guided meditation that will be shared with the class. We participated in a vinyasa class, either by taking the class or observation, and provided feedback.

After lunch, we learned the different poses for each chakra, demonstrated the poses, provided modifications, and how to assist. I really enjoyed that class. We ended with a meditation in the legs up the wall pose.

 

Homework

For homework, we were required to practice 5 sessions of yoga, 3 at the studio, each week and 5 sessions of 10-minute meditations. We read parts 1 and 2 of the yoga sutras and wrote a page on the sutra that we resonated most with, and how we can apply it to life. We were also asked to refine our practice teach sequence.

 

This weekend

This weekend we will discuss part 1 and 2 of the yoga sutras and how it resonated with us. We’ll cover pose breakdowns and self-study. We have a chakra flow and breakdown workshop. This will be our second weekend covering chakras and I’m really starting to get into them.

We also have a lotus flow workshop that sounds interesting. I’m loving the workshops. It’s fun to learn the different aspects of the yoga world.

8 Strategies to Maintain Weight Loss

Maintaining weight loss is difficult for many people. There have been times I have lost weight only to gain some of it back within a year.

It’s important to know that you must continue the positive habits that helped you lose weight and not revert back to your old habits.

The good news is that there are several strategies to help you.

 
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8 strategies to maintaining weight loss.

  • Maintain a physically active lifestyle

  • Continue with a consistent meal pattern and breakfast consumption

  • Consume less energy-dense foods

  • Consume nutrient-dense/lower calorie foods

  • Flexible eating, no restrictions of food

  • Self-monitoring, by tracking food intake and weighing yourself

  • Engage in non-food coping strategies

  • Support system with likeminded people

 

What has been your number one strategy to maintaining weight loss?

How to Break Through a Weight Loss Plateau

Plateaus are a pain in the behind and inevitable. If you are in a calorie deficit, your body will plateau at some point. A true plateau is when weight has stabilized for at least one month.

Plateaus occur when your body adapts in order to reach homeostasis. Your body is always working to maintain an equilibrium in every aspect. This is why our body’s temperature is maintained at about 98.6 degrees fahrenheit and why we have a sodium/potassium pump. This is a good thing. It means your body is doing its job.

Now that we know we will most likely plateau at some point during our weight loss journey, let’s use this opportunity to not freak out and ditch the deficit all together, but to make a plan of action.

 
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 There are two ways to consider a plateau:

1.     An opportunity to take a diet break and maintain weight loss. Consider this option if you’ve been dieting for a while.

2.     Keep going and push through. Consider this if you haven’t been dieting for long.

If you decided to go with a diet break, increase your calories to maintenance. This is when you do not gain or lose weight. Continue the habits that helped you lose the initial weight. That might mean you continue to eat less energy-dense foods, maintain a physically active lifestyle, self-monitoring, etc. The mere act of maintaining weight loss is a huge challenge.

If you decided to push through, you will want to either lower your calories and/or increase exercise.

Do this:

-       Lower calories by 100

Or

-       Increase cardio by adding 5-15 minutes/session

Or

-       Combination: lower calories by 50 and increase cardio by adding 10 minutes/session

Do this for a week and note any changes. If nothing changes, pick one of the above and try again.

What strategies do you have for busting through plateaus?

How to Calculate Calories and Protein for a Successful Weight Loss

There is no secret to losing weight. It’s a well-known researched fact that you must be in a calorie deficit to lose weight. This means you take in less calories than you burn.

So, why are there many different diets claiming to help you lose weight. Well, they all result in a calorie deficit. The Keto diet restricts carbohydrates. If you normally eat carbohydrates then decide to go on the Keto diet, you have just eliminated hundreds of calories.

This is the same for all diets that require you to restrict food. They all work as long as you limit those foods.

An easier solution is to cut back on the foods you already eat without having to cut them out completely. There are many strategies to eliminating calories, but for today’s post we are going to cover calorie and protein counting.

 
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How do you calculate a calorie deficit?

Step 1. Track your food/liquid intake for 1 week.

Weigh and measure all of the foods/liquids you eat and drink. This includes the foods you sample by taking bites and licks. After a week, did you lose, gain, or maintain weight? If you maintained weight, then that is likely your maintenance calories.

 

Step 2. Subtract 100-200 calories from your maintenance calories.

If your maintenance calories are 1,600, then subtract 100 calories. If after a week you don’t lose any weight, subtract another 100 calories.

 

Step 3. Calculate your protein needs.

It’s important for you to track your protein intake or at least know how much protein to eat. Protein increases satiety, a feeling of fullness. It will also preserve muscle mass while you’re in a caloric deficit.

Calculate your weight from pounds into kilograms. Example: 125lbs / 2.2kg = 57kg

Protein should be between 1.2-2.2 g/kg.

To preserve muscle mass start with 1.6 g/kg. Example: 57kg x 1.6g/kg = 91 g/protein

If you would rather calculate in pounds, then convert protein needs to g/lb.

Example: 1.6g/kg = 1.6/2.2kg = 0.73g/lb  (there are 2.2 kg in 1 lb)

So, 125lb x 0.73g/lb = 91 g/protein

 

Step 4. Only track calories and protein.

Instead of tracking carbohydrates and fat, eat what you want of the two without going over your calories and protein goals. This will increase the variety of your foods, which will increase the likelihood of you reaching your weight loss goals. The only caveat is that you do not dip below 20% of fat intake. Eating less than 20% of fat will likely cause problems with your hormones and health.

 

Step 5. Give it some time to work.

You must have patience when losing weight. It typically takes a couple of weeks to really notice a difference. Give it time and trust the process.