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ActiveVoice: Don't be SAD, get RAD

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Lighter mornings mean greater rewards in the outdoors, such as stunning views!

Climate, sunshine hours and temperature affect our mood – it’s a scientific fact – and come May there will be endless articles informing us how to ‘beat the winter blues’.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), as it is officially known, is defined as a mood disorder in which people start exhibiting depressive symptoms at the same time each year (most commonly in winter).

But while these ‘winter blues’ get a lot of attention, what about the ‘autumn slump’? (Not an actual term, but I am hoping it will catch on).

The ‘autumn slump’ is that awkward period of in-between, of colder mornings and confusing daylight savings, with searing hot afternoons peppered by the occasional downpour for two to three days.

It’s not summer fun, it’s not winter blues, but it is a weird limbo; a period of unsettled, confusing weather patterns – all of which make physical activity a bit of a challenge.

I don’t know about you, but for me it’s hard to find the drive to exercise before work when all I want to do is sleep (even if daylight savings has made mornings lighter).

Equally, when the sun runs away by 6pm, those once-loved post-work outdoor explorations are simply out of the question.
So what do we do to turn our SAD into RAD – Ready for Action And Discovery?

For me, the key to making it through the autumn slump, right through the winter blues, is indoor activities with friends.
I can have bursts of self-motivation, but generally I find the best way to get through the ‘slump’ is to surround myself with other like-minded people.

We’re fortunate in the Bay to have really great social sport leagues that cater to all skills, abilities and interests, from netball and badminton, to Ultimate Frisbee and Futsal. A season can last through most of the hard times, keeping you committed to seeing through the ‘slump’ and the ‘blues’ too.

Equally, we have an abundance of recreation providers, who offer indoor classes tailored more to those who like to work as an individual but part of a larger group – such as yoga, dance, fitness classes, boxing and more. Even some of the more unique activities such as aerial silks and pole fitness are an awesome autumn activity!

Most providers will offer block courses or concessions too, which hold you accountable to turning up rain, hail or shine.
Incidental exercise is a great way to tick the box – such as commuting to work by foot or two wheels.

I’ll be utilising the daylight and sunshine where I can get it, and try to walk the 5km journey to our offices, and when the weather plays ball in the weekend I’ll be abandoning homely responsibilities and getting out in nature for my fix of outdoor recreation.

It’s not always easy to keep active when all you want to do is curl up in front of Netflix, but doing a little something each day will help you feel good inside and out, and it’ll be summer before you know it!

If you’re looking for a new activity or social league to join, our Get Involved page is a handy database of local providers – you can find out more here. //

Plus, if you have any tips on how to beat the ‘autumn slump’, I’d love to hear it – feel free to drop me an email on laurab@sportbop.co.nz or post a comment on Facebook – we can beat this together!

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