Healthy Diet

7 Ways to Ditch the Winter Blues

Sad & Happy sunflower RAIN CROW

Hey there my friend, how are you doing with this SEASON change thing?

Do you feel that winter slowness creeping in?  For most of us it’s easy as pie to slip into couch potato mode this time of year. And we all need a little cozy R&R sometimes. On cold, wintery days, yoga pants + Netflix + sofa surfing can feel oh-so-good. But in the long run, you’ll feel better if you know how to battle that creepety creep of a low mood and low energy that can bring on a winter weary slump.

And as far as yoga pants go, I’m a fan. But did you know that there was a study that linked excessive wearing of stretchy yoga pants to sudden shrinkage of skinny jeans? Yes, that’s right! The more you hang in your stretchy pants, the tighter those jeans get!

Well, yeah, the study was done with my friends, but You KNOW it’s true 😉

Anyway on to the more serious stuff.

Want to feel fabulous this winter? Here are 7 of the best tactics for kicking SAD to the curb this season.

  • Check in With D

We’ve all heard by now that many of us are low in Vitamin D, but did you know that Vitamin D is not actually a regular vitamin but a super important Gang-Sta steroid hormone?  We DO NOT want to be deficient in this hormone.  It’s linked to our cardiovascular health, our immune system, our metabolism and our mood. This is why lack of sun literally makes us feel less “sunny”.  The primary source of Vitamin D is the sun.

Serotonin, the brain hormone associated with mood elevation, rises with exposure to bright light and falls with decreased sun exposure. In 2006, scientists evaluated the effects of vitamin D on the mental health of 80 elderly patients and found those with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who received healthy doses.

YIKES.

But you know it’s true if you’ve experienced the effects of Low D.

Get your vitamin D levels tested.  And if you don’t live in a place where you can get 15 minutes of sun 3-4 times a week, you will want to supplement with D.  Not all vitamin D’s are created equal. if you want to raise your vitamin D, the easiest way is to take a vitamin D supplement. As a general guideline, research by GrassrootsHealth suggests that adults need about 8,000 IUs per day to achieve a serum level of 40 ng/ml. If you do opt for a vitamin D supplement, also something that many people are unaware of is that remember that you also need to boost your intake of vitamin K1 & K2 through food and/or a supplement.  To make this easy I supplement each winter with this.

So don’t neglect your D situation.  Get yours tested and supplement where needed.  I can always tell when my D is low just by a change in mood.  And so can my husband.  Well, actually he probably notices before I do.  You know how THAT goes, riiiight?

  • Go Outside

I’ve said it once (or twice;), and I’ll say it again – get out there and move!

Every. Single. Day. Thirty minutes or more is fabulous.

Whether it’s a jaunt around the neighborhood, a hike in the woods, or even shoveling the walk, get your blood flowing in the crisp winter air with an aerobic activity. My favorite way to do this is to schedule hikes with different gal pals during the week.

This helps me get my social fix AND get my bod pod feeling ALIVE again. Honestly, if I skip out on daily movement, my mood goes down FAST (think PROZAC town here). Also you want to absorb as much Vitamin D as possible! Sunlight increases both your serotonin and dopamine levels, equaling a happy, healthier you. So move it on OUT!

  • Spa or Massage Appointments
    I know it seems obvious but, booking a spa regular spa appointment in advance can give you something to look forward to in the cold, dark days of winter. Treating yourself kindly is the perfect antidote to the creeping sense of depression that winter can induce. Get a facial, massage or pedicure and feel rejuvenated. It’s amazing how quick that can make you feel better. Book it Dano!  Here’s where I go.
  • Cancel Something to be Spontaneous
    It’s all-to-easy to delve into hermit-mode when the temperature drops. But may I suggest that you question the day to day “to-do” boring blah stuff once in a while, to say hell-yes to invitations more often! Grab lunch, dinner or drinks with friends at least once a week. Join a meditation group. Go to a reading at your local bookstore. Check out a museum exhibit. Whatever it is — if you’re out of the house and meeting people, you’re on the right track. And don’t feel like everything needs to be planned a week in advance, to plan something with a friend. More than likely your pals are feelin’ it too and will JUMP at the chance to connect!  Just last week a friend texted me to go on an impromptu shopping trip with her.  Normally I’d never cancel a few afternoon things to “shop” but I did and because I was in FUN deficit mode, when I returned I had twice the energy to get some serious work done, just by taking a little break.
  • Change Up Your Morning Routine
    I have a deep belief that the way we set up our mornings has a powerful impact on our day, weeks and months.  In the fall and winter we can find ourselves inside the house, office car and it seems to dull our senses a bit.  You know how when the weather is warm you go out, play in the garden, tidy up the porch, feel the air and sun on your face?  Well why not continue?  I have found that I need to get that fresh jolt of air even MORE in the winter.  So I decided to move my morning meditation practice outside.  I created a nice little set-up complete with a furry blanket, a pot of tea, and it’s quite invigorating.  You probably know by now that I’m a fan of meditation.  I have a group cleanse going on right now and this time I combined it with a meditation challenge.  Even some of the people who were a bit more resistant to trying it have been SOLD on it.  Don’t believe me? Give it a try.  Give it a Week.  Change up your morning. See what happens…..
Yeah, it's my spot. No, it's not me in the morning! I'm not showing that scene ;)
Yeah, it’s my spot. No, it’s not me in the morning! I’m not showing that scene ;). But cozy, no? 
  • Get Out of Town!
    Okay, ideally you fly off to a warm climate and dip your toes in the water from your BFF’s fabulous yacht, but well, that’s not always an option. How about just a few days away? It’s amazing to me how much better I feel when I just change my scene for a little while. Why not a short road trip and a few nights away? Can you squeeze it in? I think maybe you can.

Here’s the deal. You know I’m always saying this, but:

If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

I can’t emphasize enough, that we can’t give water from an empty well. And if we really want to do our best in this world then we REALLY need to understand how completely ESSENTIAL learning how to take radically good care of ourselves is, no matter what the season. I KNOW it’s not always easy to get away and do some of these things, but trust me, if you feel better, you look better, you function better and you’re more equipped to do your best. and that requires taking time to nourish all parts of yourself, especially during these long days right before the holidays hit!

So even if you can’t jet off to a warmer clime this winter, there’s no reason to wait for summer to feel good. Try a few of these things that fight  SAD and kick the winter blues to where the sun don’t shine!

Let me know how it goes!

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