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Not the most choice words to describe yourself this time of year, but the melancholy that comes when the sun begins to dance in the sky for far less time than we need? Those words can become the reality of our days.
Do you struggle at this time of year as we begin the slide into winter?
For years I did.
And I fought against it, believing it was “all in my head” and that I was just being a grouch.
[Let me add a caveat: I am not offering medical advice nor am I diagnosed with SAD-seasonal affective disorder. Seek medical treatment if your blues are more severe.]
Beginning with Daylight Savings time, you are sleepier, more sedentary, possibly, like me, curiously sad and sluggish on those gray days when the sun doesn’t shine.
Not All in Your Head
Mood shifts during the late fall and winter are not imaginary. Lack of energy and zip and zest is real. Fourteen percent of adults in the US are affected. You may notice the winter blues from early November until spring rolls around.
And its such a drag.
You feel listless and blue on those days with no sun. You notice lower energy and heaviness once the clouds move in.
Talking with others and with my doctor, I started to experiment. Using a few tools and techniques, could I look forward to winter instead of dreading the loss of light? I wanted to feel stable and at ease like I did in other seasons.
Here’s what I did–maybe it will help you, too!
Banish Those Winter Blues
1. Get some light in you!
I didn’t want to face the fact that I might need more than an attitude change but I finally broke down and invested in a sunlamp last year. And I feel better; 30 minutes of sun in the early morning really does lift my spirit.
2. Up the Vitamin D
With the help of my doctor, I increased my vitamin D intake. Combined with my multivitamin and fish oil tablets (which has also been linked to alleviating depression) my vitamin D levels are high enough to help boost my spirit in the bleak midwinter.
3. Get Outside Everyday
I love my FitBit and try to get my steps every day. Especially in the winter, when I can’t always fit it in before breakfast, I get outside to put in a lap or two in the neighborhood during our morning break. We incorporate walks in the woods for nature study and I slip out after lunch most days, too.
4. Warm and Nourishing Foods
We all crave the carbs in winter, am I right? But carbohydrates only add to my sluggish feeling in the winter. I love comfort foods but eat a lot of soup or warmish salads to help me feel better. I’ve also added green smoothies in mid-day. And tea. Lots of tea.
5. Invest in Cold Weather Gear
If I am going to be outside, I want to be comfortable. I invested in the right gear. My favorites for outside include woolen socks, puffy jacket, and a good warm hat. Inside, you will find me in layers upon layers.
6. Create a Morning Playlist
Homeschool=a lot of together time. Instead of giving in to the cabin fever that hits regularly in January/February, we get up and move and groove. Beginning our day with energizing tunes sets the tone that, no matter the weather, its gonna be a good day.
Winter doesn’t bring me down so much anymore. I had to give myself permission to believe what I was feeling was real and that I could do something about it. Once I did that, I could keep on smiling–no matter the weather!
Wishing you a happy winter, friend!
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