Have the February blah’s hit you yet? Winter can be taxing on both our mental and physical strength – the persistent cold, harsh winds, and darkness. It’s the time of year when most of the beautiful white snow has turned to grey mush, we are done with shovelling and are tired of bundling up and freezing outside.
Many hibernate and wear comfy pants when home, eat extra (often calorie rich) comfort foods and feel like we are dragging ourselves out of bed in the darkness of morning.
Have no fear – winter will soon be over, but in the meantime I hope to offer you some tips on how to beat the blahs!
Blah: Darkness & Lack vitamin D
One way to assist in boosting your immune system as well as fighting your seasonal affective disorder during the months of flu, darkness, and general down spirits, is to make sure your Vitamin D levels are up.
Vitamin D, known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is essential for the maintenance of our health and immune systems. Studies have shown that deficiency can lead to a number of health problems and contribute to chronic disorders, including high blood pressure, osteoporosis, depression, obesity, and diabetes. Our main source of Vitamin D is from the sun - for those of us living in the north this is difficult to get in the winter.
I would recommend supplementation of Vitamin D in the winter months, but certain foods are also fortified with Vitamin D including, cereal, orange juice, milk and yogurt. It naturally occurs in eggs and salmon and tuna.
Blah: Little extra weight gain around the middle
Not only does the cold weather make us crave more carbs, the various holidays in the winter months don’t help either. The December holiday season is always a challenge with the extra parties and sweet treats around, and if you crave sugar come February you are hit with Valentine’s Day. The extra weight creeps on and it’s easy to hide under the bulky sweaters!
If you want to shed some before spring hits start cutting the starchy carbs and sugar. Increase your greens and protein! This change will not only help your waistline, but will help your energy levels as well.
Blah: Less exercise
If you can’t brave the elements for your regular run, consider bundling up to go for a winter walk, skate or ski. All these activities get your heart pumping and calories burning, plus it will get your endorphins going which will help give you a mood boost. If you are feeling unmotivated hit up your gym and try a new class. No gym membership? Look online and find a workout video to do at home. Once you get moving chances are you will feel better.
If you can’t get outside and feeling uninspired, make your inside space more desirable. Light a fire, buy some fresh flowers (tulips are available now and brighten up any room) diffuse some essential oils that are uplifting to the mood (Wild Orange is one of my favs for this), read a motivational book, invite friends over for a meal. Making the time inside quality time will help you feel better and pass the winter.
Remember that your thoughts will become you reality. Changing the way you think about winter can do a lot to alter how you feel. Think of winter as an opportunity to get yourself ready to hit spring running as your best self!