Being who I am, my view of health tends to be focused on nutrition and so is the focus on this blog. But I'm trying to encompass a more holistic approach to be healthier all around and in particular to beat these winter blues. Of course I'll continue to focus on nutrition in my work and here in this blog, but I'm also going to bring in some wider, more holistic themes this year. Let me know if there is anything you would like to hear about in particular.
Here's what I've decided to do to see if I can combat these winter blues:
1. Get out and enjoy the daylight with a walk every day. Lunchtime walks are ideal.
As a born-and-raised California girl, I am used to running on solar power.
|La Selva Beach, CA, November 2011|
But since moving to a far northern latitude, the serious lack of sun in my life is starting to get to me.While I realize it could be worse in terms of daylight hours, the daylight hours we get tend to be grey and gloomy. It doesn't really get light out until 9am -- which makes getting out of bed early difficult, especially when you work from home -- and the sun has disappeared completely again by 5pm, although it starts getting dark far earlier than that.
When the sun does make a blessed appearance I scramble to get out and enjoy it. But then as soon as I step outside I am reminded that the sun is so weak and low in the sky it is only a faint reminder of the warmth of the sun I'm used to feeling.
However, even though the levels of sun are below optimal for me, I've discovered that I need to get out and enjoy the (weak) daylight every day. If I don't I find myself falling asleep at my desk when the sun starts to go down (Sunset is at 4:56pm today...). I find lunchtime walks to be the best, when the "sun" is at its strongest. So this is my goal for the month of January, to get out for a walk everyday. (days of pouring rain shall be excepted...although as it seems to be the case in many places, our days of pouring rain have been few and far between as of late.)
2. Stay hydrated.
I have a hard time remembering to drink water in the winter. So I often end up so thirsty and chugging water towards the end of the day. Not ideal. I have no problem, however, drinking a cup of hot tea in the winter. So I'm going to up my (non-caffeinated) tea intake to make up for my apparent inability to regularly drink water this time of year.
|I drink my tea out of a beautiful CA mug from starbucks. With a side of gluten-free gingersnaps, its pretty much my idea of heaven :)|
3. Take a calcium and vitamin D supplement every day.
I am terrible at taking vitamins. I think in part its because I firmly believe that it is better to get your nutrients from food than from a pill. But there are some supplements that I should be taking (and my doctors have told me so...make sure you ask your doctor before taking supplements!), and a calcium-vitamin D supplement is one of them. I should have been taking this supplement all along, even in CA, but it is even more important now given the lack of natural vitamin D power (sun) in my life.4. Channel my inner summer energy with warm yoga.
My yoga studio is not hot yoga, but it is nice and toasty warm in there. Add in the movement of ashtanga yoga for an hour or more, and I leave the class a good deal warmer than when I arrived (not to mention sweaty and more relaxed). Which is a good deal for my mood. So I'm off to yoga at least once, but ideally twice per week this month.5. Listen to feel-good happy music while at my desk.
Right now I'm finding the 'golden oldies' are hitting the spot. They are upbeat and happy, but not too upbeat that I'm unable to concentrate. Did you know that iTunes has a radio feature? I've been listening to some of the 'golden oldies' stations on there, and its been such a treat while typing away at the computer to hear Frank Sinatra and The Supremes belt out the classics. Yes, I realize listening to the 'golden oldies' is far outside the norm for my generation, but I don't care. I like them and they perk me up.6. Focus on the positive. All this dark and grey weather is a great reason to stay cozy inside and get work done.
Although being inside for most of the day leaves me feeling a bit like a caged bird, I must admit that I quite like being cozy inside when its grey and gloomy outside. Add in a cup of earl grey tea with milk and honey, and I'm a happy camper. But I must make sure to accomplish goal #1 if I am going to be able to appreciate the cozy comfort that winter brings.And with that I'm off for my walk. How do you combat the winter blues? Any tips from my friends in Northern places?