SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which is commonly referred to as ‘winter depression’ affects roughly every 3 in 100 people. It is a form of depression which follows a seasonal pattern meaning that during the darker months of winter the following symptoms appear both more apparent and severe: less active, feeling tired with the constant need to sleep, lethargic whilst awake, loss of concentration, and eating more than usual.
SAD is a genuine disorder arising from the lack of natural light during winter months, which as a result can alter hormonal levels, such as melatonin and serotonin which are responsible for managing our mood, sleep, and appetite.
Any mental health disorder- but most specifically SAD- needs extra attention and care during the winter. It’s easy to want to take the car, or be tempted into learning how to drive when it’s cold and dark and well just generally miserable outside. But driving won’t do much for your health. It won’t even necessarily get you to your destination on time.
It is important to remain active in order to maintain good health both in the physical and mental sense, particularly in the winter. Combining the need to get to work/school/college with the need to exercise is your best way to ensure efficient exercise becomes part of your daily routine. After all, 150 minutes of exercise per week is the recommended average which translates to 30 minutes of physical activity each working day. This means you wouldn’t even have to walk or cycle your whole journey, you could take public transport and just hop off to walk/cycle the remaining distance.
If you need further convincing on how an active commute could help you to overcome or at the very least how to manage SAD then the following articles may help: How do I deal with seasonal affective disorder? How to beat the winter blues. End of Daylight Saving Time can kick off Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Commute active this winter, even if it’s just one day a week; it’ll do both mind and body wonders!