For many of us in Vancouver, the winter can seem very long. With the added stress of the pandemic over the past two winters, having strategies to induce the release of endorphins can make a huge difference in our mental health and well-being.
Endorphins are the body’s feel-good chemicals that promote feelings of pleasure and help to lift your mood. They can also help with feelings of anxiety, something that many of us have struggled with lately.
Here are a few ideas to help promote the release of endorphins:
- Exercise – with the gyms closed currently in BC, one of the best ways to get your body moving is to head outside. From running and walking to snowshoeing and skiing, we are lucky to have endless possibilities in our backyard.
There are some amazing opportunities to learn a new sport right now.
Skate skiing is a fantastic workout and requires the use of muscles that get weak in many of us with sitting for long periods, such as our gluteals and
- Get some friends together and head out snowshoeing at Cypress or Seymour Mountain or head up to Whistler Olympic Park.
There are also other ways to get your body moving indoors as well:
- Take a clinical Pilates private Physiotherapy session with one of our clinical Pilates trained Physiotherapists. This can be an ideal way to treat chronic mid or lower back pain that is common with jobs that require long hour sitting at the computer.
- Take an online Pilates class – many of our clients are enjoying the online offering of skilled Pilates instructor Stephanie Laoun. You can check out her online zoom classes at stephaniedoespilates.com
2. Get a massage – touch has been proven to help the release of endorphins. Getting a regular massage can be a healthy way to help settle your nervous system, manage pain, and lessen anxiety.
3. Meditate – A daily meditation practice, even just a few minutes, can help with the release of endorphins and as well as dopamine and melatonin. (1)
Developing a meditation practice can be a wonderful way to help manage anxiety by helping to identify less with your thoughts and focus on the present moment. I personally have found my meditation practice to be a lifesaver in helping with managing anxiety during stressful periods in my life.
There are endless options for support in beginning a meditation practice now.
Some of the apps I regularly recommend to my clients are:
4. Laugh – laughter is one of the easiest, most natural ways to help have a friend that cracks you up? Make the effort to schedule a walk or a catch up to get some laughter medicine.
Or find a comedian you like and watch some of their shows.
5. Have a glass of wine – yup that’s right, alcohol has been shown to help with the release of endorphins as well. (2, 3) Having a glass or wine or two at the end of the day can be a way to help with stress. For those that are not prone to addiction and are able to manage this mindfully, this can be a way to assist in promoting relaxation.
The great thing is, the process of seeking out endorphins can bring a lot more fun and connection into your life.
Wishing you an endorphin-filled winter and a 2022 that brings much joy and ease.
- Harte, J. L., Eifert, G. H., and Smith, R. June 1995. The effects of running and meditation on beta-endorphin, corticotropin-releasing hormone and cortisol in plasma, and on mood. Biological Psychology, 40, (3), 251-265.
- Simon, G. January 18, 2012. Alcohol and endorphins: ‘feel good’ chemical key to problem drinking? Counselling Resource.
- Mayo Clinic. March 4, 2011. Red wine and resveratrol: good for your heart? Diseases and Conditions.