WINTER IS HERE. But you don't have to get too S.A.D. about it.
It's Coach Josh here, Training for Warriors Portland, and it's happening! I can see it's happening! The time has changed, it's getting darker earlier, and staying dark longer. I see the signs in my friend group, all over my network, people in the dojo, looking a little sad.
Are your energy levels low? Do the fallen leaves put you in a funk?
That's normal! That's OK. It's not a bad thing. But that's not the end of the story, that's the beginning of the story, and it's up to YOU to do something about it.
Now, this isn't a rah-rah "oh just change your mindset, change your life" pep talk. Here is an instruction manual, a how-to guide, to help your brain get rid of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, with some practical tips.
Jane McGonigal, one of my favorite authors, wrote a book called SuperBetter. In the book, she compares your ratio of positive self-thoughts to negative/critical self-thoughts. The closer you are to a 1-1, the harder time you're going to have to stay focused and empowered. If half your thoughts are pessimistic/negative, then starting with "focusing on the positive" and "feeling more gratitude" is probably premature. You actually need to start earlier in the process; in your biology, in your nervous system, in your PHYSIOLOGY. Start by affecting the root organism, and make sure that you're doing the things that allow for a happy and healthy brain before getting into all the touchy-feely rah-rah.
Number 1: EAT
Complicated right? You've got to eat actual real food. If you need a list of the right foods to eat, message me and I'll give it to you. You've got to stay on a somewhat reasonable diet. You have to eat reasonably nutritious food, in order to feel good. It affects your brain directly. It's not fuel in the car, that's a shitty analogy. It IS the car! It IS YOU! What you're eating IS YOU. If you're eating garbage, you're going to feel like garbage. Clean up the diet, #1, fast, and you're going to feel better.
Number 2: SLEEP
Get ACTUAL good sleep. The time has changed SO you might want to try changing with the time. Since it gets dark earlier try to maintain a consistent bedtime. Don't try to yourself awake watching that next season of Game of Thrones. Go to bed on time. Shut off the electronics. Quit re-watching the last season of Game of Thrones. Get high-quality sleep. Calm down. Wind down.
Make sure you get 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep per night. If you're eating good food, and you're getting good sleep, then you have enough energy to...
Step 3: MOVE
Move your body. So get outside. If you're a fair-weather cyclist, great, get inside. Come and lift weights with your friends at TFW Portland. Whatever you do, you've got to move your body. Your brain and your biochemistry are based around moving. Your heart, brain and your lungs are all meant to be used. Use it or lose it! Move your body intentionally. Get some exercise. You've got to train.
If you're doing step one, and step two, do step three, and move your body to feel better. If you're doing all of those things (I understand it's quite a bit), that's going to help move the ratio of positive to negative thoughts on the scale, since you will start to have more agency and control about your focus.
First get your needs met, and then worry about your mindset.
Coach Josh, Training for Warriors Portland, helping you bring out the warrior within.