Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Beat the Winter Blues

I have to say Winter is the most challenging season for me and I know I'm not alone! I can usually expect to gain a good 5lbs. during the winter and feel less motivated to workout. I get a little stir crazy too! Last Saturday was awesome...we saw temps of 40 degrees (which was warm) and beautiful sunshine. It was a great day to walk to the park, play and get some good 'ol vitamin D. The last couple days haven't been as nice, with blizzard like conditions and an inch of ice and sleet!! These days have me going crazy. I've compiled some tips for beating the blues this winter....

1. Let in some natural light. Sunlight can help alleviate symptoms of seasonal disorder and can boost your mood immediately. Sunlight is a good source of Vitamin D which can be hard to get during the winter months, so open the shades and let in the sun.

2. Exercise regularly! Regular exercise will keep your metabolism running, release feel good endorphins and boost your mood. Make exercise part of your daily routine. Find a few classes to take weekly.

3. Take up a new activity. Try a new class, or sign up for skating lessons. Challenge yourself to something new for the winter.

4. Avoid heavy or fattening foods. Its natural to want to eat warm winter foods, but avoid eating high-fat foods that will only make you feel worse after. Look up some new soup recipes, but keep it healthy and avoid the winter weight gain.

5. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol can be tempting to get your going or to calm you down after a stressful day, but they will have your mood changing constantly. Try drinking hot tea instead.

6. Take Yoga. Yoga can reduce stress, clear the mind, and alleviate seasonal disorder. You are likely to find it beneficial in one way or another during the winter season.

7. Get a Massage. Massage can have the same benefits of yoga, but may release more muscle tension. Foam rolling is also a great way to self massage.

8. Get away. Take a mini-vacation for the weekend just for fun. We could all use a break from the day to day stress or just a weekend away from the cold. Plan a vacation for the spring so you have something to look forward too!

9. Keep a regular schedule. Its good to stay with your daily routine. You should be getting your sleep, but don’t hibernate. It will be much harder to get going and can lead to depression.

10. Get out and be social. During the winter its normal to feel less social and spend more time at home, but it can be good to get out for a night on the town, or to have a dinner party and socialize with friends.