Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Winter Blahs, part three
Winter just drags on and on, doesn't it? I never find myself complaining that spring or fall drags on and on. I hardly ever gripe about summer, but I know others who do. Winter takes so much effort from us to stay warm, focused, productive, and even safe. These last tips on surviving the winter blahs are important.
Eat right. That's right, eat with care, concern, and wisdom. When the blahs hit, we often reach for a sugar high to boost our energy. Sugar may give us a high, but it also quickly lets you slide once more. Highly processed carbohydrates react in our bodies as pure sugar...quick boost, no long term help. Think of these carbs or sugary treats as straw in a campfire. A bright blaze and quickly gone.
Instead of a sugar boost, reach for a complex carbs like oatmeal and other whole grains. Fruit gives you a quick sugar high, but also a helping of fiber and nutrients. Even better is a small amount of protein...string cheese, a hard-boiled egg, some chicken, a hand full of walnuts or almonds. Protein stabilizes your blood sugar so you aren't craving a quick fix. Imagine a well seasoned oak log on the fire place...long burning and heat generating.
I can't tell you how much I crave comfort foods during cold gray days. If I eat well, I feel better and I'm more able to cope with the depression of the season. If I don't eat well...let's just say the cycle spirals downward.
A quick word about supplements. I'm reading a lot about the benefits of Vitamin D supplements these days. It seems that even if we spend time outdoors, many of us aren't producing enough Vitamin D, especially in the winter. This vitamin is not only good for bones, but may play a role in depression as well. Not enough means more depression. Consider adding a supplement to your diet.
Exercise. When eat well came up on the list, you knew exercise wasn't far behind. Exercise, deep-breathing, heart pounding, sweaty exercise releases feel good endorphins in our brains. Fresh doses of oxygen bathe our brain cells. Exercise warms muscles, flushes toxins, and burns calories. It just plain feels good to exercise. If you dislike getting out in the weather, invest in a piece of exercise equipment...and don't hang your laundry on it. Buy a few work out DVDs. Thirty minutes a day is all you really need. Load your iPod with great music or an audio book to listen to as you work out. I have friends who strap a laptop to the rack of their treadmill so they can watch a DVD or download of a movie or TV show as they stride. I prefer getting outside, even on cold days. I just flat out need the sunlight. So, if you are like me, invest in quality workout gear for outdoors. Layers are everything because as you walk or jog, you will get warmer and warmer. Don't forget to slather on moisturizer to protect your skin, too.
Lastly, do something. Travel--(St. Martin, anyone?) Take a class. Host a book club. Throw a party. Start a new project. Create. Keep yourself busy and active. Spring will be here before you know it!
Thanks for all your comments on these posts. It comforts me to know I'm not the only one.