It feels like winter has been here forever and a day. I am Not exaggerating either. In Chicago (best city ever) we haven’t had nearly the amount of snow we had last year (or poor Boston that has had at over 100 inches…I almost wrote 100-ft, but glad I googled that #AmateurMistake), but the frigid cold temperatures and gloomy, dark days can get the best of any of us. Even those of us who are “irritatingly happy”.
Winter blues, winter blahs, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)…it has many names. The “winter blues” as I shall refer to it, are characterized by sadness, a lack of motivation and low energy that many people experience during this cold season. It’s more than How to be Charming or finding out How to have a Lovely Day…though both were Sensational blogs. Chapped lips, dry skin, and bruises from falling on ice, coupled with a feeling of sadness from not seeing the sun for what feels like months…Not Fun. So while not all of us can get a new car, adopt a new dog and have spring break just weeks away, to cheer us up, I thought I’d share some tips to get that hitch back in your giddyup! Even those of us with all of the above can use more snap back into our step! Plus, spring is but 3 short weeks away! Thank goodness!!
First and foremost…let’s address dry skin, of which I desperately suffer from in the winter months.
60 Ideas to Beat the Winter Blahs…or SAD
I love, love, love “Giving out High-Fives”… Why don’t we make the 5th of every month High Five day?…and not in a drug-induced way…but an honest to goodness “Give me a High Five”! I’m going to start that. I have started some things that have gone viral, so why not this?
More ways to Beat the Blues
Some of my favorite things from the above list:
* Sing Karaoke…Summer Lovin’ from Grease, my “go-to” Karaoke song!
* watch cute animal videos or my personal favorite Solidier reunions…Seriously, they could have a 24-hour a day channel featuring soldier reunions and I’d be Glued to the TV!!
* Fresh flowers…and as strange as this sounds, I prefer when I buy them myself.
* Visit a place connected with fond memories…or reliving memories. I do this often.
* Write a letter to a friend who has been weighing on your mind… Will do so this week.
* Go out of your way to be nice to everyone you encounter… Think of it as a game! #Winning
Beat the Blues…from our friends at Huffington Post
1. Soak up morning sunshine.
According to Kalayjian, winter blues will be worst in the mornings when you’re rousing yourself from bed. She tells clients to open curtains as much as possible to get exposure to natural light right when the body is waking up.
2. Maintain your routine.
“The most helpful thing is to try to keep up everyday activities,” says Rohan. Once daylight savings time occurs, don’t neglect your favorite hobbies just because winter spurs an impulse to hibernate. You’ll feel better knowing you’re still making it to your weekly book club, basketball game or brunch with friends.
3. Work it out.
During a killer gym session, the brain works hard to override the temporary feelings of discomfort by telling the body to keep pushing. You’ll naturally release endorphins, which will make you feel happier and even euphoric. A meta-review published in the American College of Sports Medicine Journal in 2013 suggested that, for some individuals, exercise might be comparable to therapy or anti-depressants as an effective treatment for depression.
4. Flip a switch.
Research suggests that light boxes can help up to 50 percent of people who suffer from SAD. The bright light emitted from these devices helps the body awaken in the morning and decreases the hormone melatonin that keeps us asleep at night. And for those seeking a quick fix: Studies show that light therapy can spur a mood lift in just several days. “Based on the literature, [light therapy] is a very effective treatment,” says Rohan. However, since the FDA does not regulate light boxes, she recommends consumers pursue light therapy under the supervision of a professional. “It takes some trial and error to get it just right,” she says, emphasizing that timing, positioning and potential side effects should all be discussed with an expert before you begin treatment.
5. Ditch the sugar.
It’s common knowledge that too much of the sugary stuff will make us gain weight and puts us at risk for developing diabetes and certain cancers. And research shows that sugar has a sour effect on mental health, too. Countries that consume the most sugar have higher rates of depression, and scientists hypothesize that it hinders the body’s ability to cope with stress and can worsen anxiety. Many people crave sweet and starchy foods in the wintertime because they provide a temporary energy boost, but these treats will ultimately leave you just as sluggish as before. Instead, opt for eating complete meals with good sources of protein and fiber.
6. Get outside.
Both Rohan and Kalayjian recommend breathing in some fresh air each day. Studies confirm that spending time outside can relieve stress, so bundle up and brave the cold for at least five minutes to lift your spirits. “It turns out that going for a walk in the morning after sunrise can be especially effective,” says Rohan. “It gets light to the retina, but it’s also physical activity.” Two birds, one stone!
7. Develop wintertime interests.
Bummed that you can’t play beach volleyball every weekend? Rohan recommends finding substitutes for the mood-enhancing activities you enjoy in the summer. “Having fun is central to having a good mood,” she says. “What are things to do in winter that are fun to do?” Strap on some snowshoes, check out a new fitness class, take a spin on an ice rink or step up your game in the kitchen — you just might find a new passion.
8. Practice relaxation.
Some down dog could help you get out of the dumps. Practicing yoga, studies show, can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Plus, preliminary research on meditation reveals that breathing exercises and mindfulness exercises can actually change neural networks and decrease stress. Kalayjian also recommends progressive relaxation, a technique that promotes body awareness by tensing and relaxing muscle groups throughout the body.
9. Book a trip.
Prepare for takeoff, because quality vacation time will certainly boost your mood. Those that suffer from seasonal depression will benefit from additional sunshine if they head south, but taking a break from work is important for anyone’s mental health. Studies show that people even experience pleasure from anticipating trips. “Across the board, SAD patients will tell you they feel better [after vacation],” says Rohan. But she cautions against depending on getaways for happiness. “I think it’s important to learn to tolerate the place where you live instead of jumping on a plane.” While you count down the days ’til your beach holiday, find ways to get joyous about the winter wonderland in your own backyard.
I received this from a very dear friend and it made me so happy…so I pass this on to all of you.
For the Love of the World…
by, Charlotte Tall Mountain
For the love of a tree, she went out on a limb.
For the love of the sea, she rocked the boat.
For the love of the earth, she dug deeper.
For the love of community, she mended fences.
For the love of the stars, she let her light shine.
For the love of spirit, she nurtured her soul.
For the love of a good time, she sowed seeds of happiness.
For the love of the Goddess, she drew down the moon.
For the love of a good meal, she gave thanks.
For the love of family, she reconciled differences.
For the love of creativity, she entertained new possibilities.
For the love of her enemies, she suspended judgment.
For the love of herself, she acknowledged her worth.
And the world was richer for her…..
How to Increase Serotonin…the Happiness Hormone
I do believe a massage will be in order this weekend…just after I pick up my new car!
Or maybe just I will get a new car. :)
Les Artistes. Fun night being Monets and drinking wine with Meredith and Tracy. Crazy talent. #LostO’Brien.
What’s that saying, Life is too short to count your years or glasses of wine? Well, I shall do neither! But what I will count is my blessings.
While out with friends for dinner a friend said to me, “You really do seem to have people going out of their way and tripping over each other to help you and do nice things for you and your family”. It’s true and while I don’t like to ask for help and feel uncomfortable receiving it (have I mentioned how much I despise Raccoons?!), sometimes it cannot be avoided. We are so lucky and thankful for some very special friends who rallied around our family and our “little water pipe” problem. ;) John, Cindy and Ron…truly don’t know what we would do without you! <3 <3 <3. And many thanks and love to Dave and Connie for offering to shine a little light in our lives. I just remembered another thing that won’t be counted. Number of bathrooms. :)
Song of the Day: Thinking out Loud by Ed Sheeran
When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don’t remember my name
When my hands don’t play the strings the same way
I know you will still love me the same
House of Cards on Netflix. This weekend. #BingeWatching. Couple that with possibly hanging with LSULeslie and I am truly giddy with excitement! Oh yeah…and my new car! #Yippee
Count your blessings. Not your woes.