You Are Not Alone, How to Beat the Fall-Back Blues Daylights Savings

You are not alone, and this is the time of year I help many of my mainland clients and receive many emails from those worried about how they can stay motivated and keep their training commitments when daylights savings kicks in and the days get shorter, usually occurring late October through February.  You are not alone I call it the Fall-Back Blues. It’s real.

Genuine panic sets in and perhaps even a bit of mild to severe seasonal affect disorder (SAD) which is very challenging, and has an impact not only their exercise routine, but on their overall outlook of life. Besides being their fitness accountability partner, with my advanced neuroscience based, neuro-transformational coaching, I will help them maintain their motivation, help find ways to keep their mood elevated, re-frame perspectives that may cause them to negatively spiral, but most importantly offer them extra support and extra tools and suggestions to cope.  I will often suggest additional professional medical support or therapy. (More Resources Below)

Some of the most common (SAD) symptoms my clients have experienced:

  • Lack of motivation, exercise routines fall away
  • Weight gain usually 5-10lbs.on average or more
  • Appetite changes, cravings for more sugar and carbs, fast food (more convenient, easy)
  • Low energy, sleeping more than normal
  • Feelings of sadness, high anxiety
  • Mild to severe depression

Tips on How to Avoid the Fall-Back Blues and Maintain Your Fitness

It’s like a layered ripple effect: shorter days, less sunshine, less outdoor fun, lack of motivation, more holiday parties, all can quickly add up to the standard Fall Back 5-10lbs gained that happens to many people. Yikes. Add to that, the normal stresses of life, like inflation, the world, you’re working longer days, no more summer trips to Maui, which was normally better tempered by exercise and a higher caloric burn, is now taking more mental and physical space.

ALL of this may cause mini spirals of overeating. In addition, lack of sleep (which can make you gain weight),reaching for easy, convenient super high sugar/sodium laden processed foods late at night (also bad) and might as well throw in a few more alcoholic drinks each week;- all adds to slower metabolic rates and rapid belly fat gain.

Tip #1: Exercise Consistency:

Tip #1: Exercise Consistency: This may sound obvious but maintaining a consistent workout schedule is NUMBER ONE: Pre-schedule your workouts 1-2 months out at a minimum 2x week. Guard this time, honor your health. I help some clients who need help setting loving, supportive boundaries with their friends, boss, family and remind them a happy, fit, strong mom, dad, or employee, make for a happy home, a more productive work life, reduces stress and you’ll be a lot nicer to be around. Be consistent and workout even if you’re don’t feel like it. Once you get going, you’ll be SO glad you did. Exercise increases the mood stabilizer chemicals in your brain so you can think clearly, perform better in your sport, life, and career.

 For example, if you must sit at your desk all day, I recommend to those clients to perform 3-10 regular or knee bent pushups every 1-2 hours all throughout the day. This will IMMEDIATELY provide a fresh flow up blood and clean oxygen from your heart to your brain and other parts of the body, bringing in a rush of the feel-good chemicals AND maintains upper body muscle tone, and helps clean out the gunk in your brain.

Tip #2: Accountability Buddy

Tip #2: Accountability Buddy:. Set yourself up for success, a no fail plan. Hire me to appear virtually in your home 1x per week, to include other support during the week. Committing and investing in yourself, having someone to cheer you on, provide for you custom workouts each session, motivate you and being there to workout with is fun and makes a HUGE difference and it works! I’ve been training online since the inception of virtual talking. Together we can create the perfect gym in your home that is not expensive but is effective and fun. Connect with me here.

Tip #3: Let There Be Light

Tip #3: Let There Be Light. Many of my clients up in the PNW and in Canada and certain pockets of Europe have experienced the benefits of using light therapy. They’ve also shared that the larger displays are better. Here’s more information: Light therapy involves daily exposure to bright artificial light, usually from early fall until spring. It typically requires sitting for 20 to 60 minutes each morning in front of a light box that produces much more light than ordinary indoor lighting. The idea behind light therapy is to replace the diminished sunlight of the fall and winter months. In several studies, light therapy has had beneficial effects on SAD symptoms like those of medication or cognitive behavior therapy. (U.S. Dept of Health, NCCIG)

Tip #4: Stress Management:

Tip #4: Stress Management: Stress increases and activates cortisol which is the body’s primary stress hormone. This is highly sensitive to our reaction to perceived threats and besides other horrible symptoms of this hormone being too high, it has a DIRECT correlation to weight gain. It slows down your metabolic system to a screeching halt.

Stay socially connected to “people” and consider less technology.  While it may be easier to text someone, when we physically connect more with others it lifts our moods. When we can receive or give a hug for example, the feel-good hormones increase and it’s a win-win for both.

As part of my advanced neuro-transformational coaching, I offer highly effective neuroscience-based tools to help people manage daily stress. Lately it seems like we are all managing higher baseline levels of stress floating in our bodies and all throughout our nervous systems in different ways. (Here’s my article on stress and performance in the brain of an athlete)

Sleep is SO key.  I personally have enjoyed using the Calm APP (link below) before I go to bed. I love the nature sounds like the rain falling, or birds in a forest. They also have a great selection of soothing, nighttime meditations that I have found to be very helpful.

Getting a good dose of Vitamin D, breathing in fresh air, or simple breathing techniques can help as well.

Tip #5: Create A Support Team:

Tip #5: Create A Support Team: Like I tell my athletes and clients, the pros don’t do it alone. They have a full team of support to help them with your success. For some, more support may be helpful and necessary. Some of my clients really enjoy expanding their minds to keep extra stimulated and enroll in my Advanced Neuro-Transformational Coaching. This is mind, brain, body focus based in neuroscience and helps maintain clear perspectives and keep their thinking in a “moving forward” type of framework.

You may also benefit from the additional support of having a licensed therapist. They can offer extra support and guidance to help you navigate those extra difficult times that often come in our lives.  Having a team of support is fantastic and helps not only your mental health and mental wellness but adds to your ability to stay motivated, be self-aware and keeps you committed to your fitness and health.

Remember you are not alone. Please feel free to reach out to me or to a trusted friend to help you better your health in those shorter days of less light. You can do it.

I am available for online training that is super fun and effective. I can help you set up your home gym and provide you additional support all throughout your week. Contact me now.

The mind wins first and so do you. Take care of your body and your brain, they work together in keeping you moving forward in life and in body.

In strength and Aloha,

Suzie Cooney, CPT, CNTC

CALM APP – I use this myself to help me with my sleep routine and stress relief.

Mayo Clinic Article SAD Sadness Affect Disorder

NIH National Institute of Mental Health Helpful Article

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