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Weather, Mood & Exercise

Posted Nov 25 2008 10:34am

winter_depression I don’t know about you, but now that it’s getting darker so much earlier, I’m having trouble adjusting to the time change.

But here’s something exciting: with the usual annual stress brought on by the time change, I think I’ve finally bid “Perfect Girl” mentality.

I used to wake up at 5:15 to the alarm with no trouble. Now I can’t even do it. It’s like I turned 29 (in October) and ever since, haven’t been able to do it.

In fact, I don’t even bother trying; I’m enjoying evening workouts and with my husband in class twice a week or studying, I am finding time each weeknight to go — even when I have my own dinner plans or after-work commitments.

This is a new “me” in so many ways. I’m not beating myself up for my inability (or lack of desire) to wake. This is huge, monumental!

Of course, when it’s cold out, all I want to do is be inside with my husband, the warm fire, a good book and a mug of cocoa. In fact, as I write this, the snow is coming down and it’s icky out. But I know I will hit the gym tonight; it’s in my DNA. Exercise makes me tick. I need it. I crave it.

I worried that with this recent “loosening the reins” mentality that I’d find myself skimping out on exercise, but rather, I am finding ways to work it in rather than building my life around it.

I’ve learned, when you want something bad enough — you find a way to make it happen. Take tonight, for example. I have therapy after work. But my husband will most likely need to study at some point tonight, so I’ll probably hit the gym after we have dinner. It’ll get done. And if it doesn’t, so what? Tomorrow’s a new day, a clean slate, a fresh start.

In retrospect, I don’t know why I was so nervous about “letting go” a little of the regimented workout schedule I was so wed to; I’ve still made it to the gym or outside every workout I’d intended upon for the most part –still 6 days a week.

For me, working out in the winter, especially, boosts my mood. It helps stave off winter weight gain, but more than that, it gives me a sense of vitality in an otherwise sedentary lifestyle (with a full-time job).

In fact, without exercise, I’d be a pretty miserable person. I feel good about myself after a workout, and good about my body. Even when I’m having a “fat day,” seeing sweat glisten on my body or feeling the tightness in my hamstrings (a good tight) reminds me of just how “worth it” that hour at the gym really is, for my mind, body and soul.

So even though my internal voice says, “Stay here where it’s warm, don’t go!” I know that I’m doing my heart, brain and body a hell of a lot more good for going to the gym. Even if it’s not at 5:30 a.m. anymore, I know myself: I still get the job done.

And that’s something to be proud of. Besides, the cocoa and fire and warm blankets will be there when I get home.

How about you? How does weather affect your mood?

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