Even though the winter weather here in Nova Scotia has been pretty good, it still seems like people are tired, cranky, worn out and exhausted!
One thing I’ve noticed is that colds and flus have been running rampant this winter — lots of bugs and viruses taking their toll.
Did you know that January 16th was Blue Monday? It is billed as the most depressing day of the year. Christmas is over, the holiday bills are coming in, the weather is typically pretty bad and we are generally feeling gloomy and blue.
What also happens is that we get into a seasonal rut. We hunker down during the winter, don’t get as much exercise, fresh air or sun as in other seasons. We eat more heavy, rich, sugary foods and we watch way more TV. All of this leaves us feeling lethargic, listless and moody.
If any of this sounds familiar and you find yourself in some type of seasonal slump, here are 8 tips to lift your spirits and get you out of your rut.
1. Drink water. I know I repeat this over and over again, but in the winter especially we don’t drink enough water. Many of us are dehydrated and that contributes to headaches and low energy. My rule of thumb is half your body weight in ounces every day. Find a nice water bottle, fill it up and have it nearby at all times. Drink up!
2. Get outside. I always say there is no bad weather just bad gear. Regardless of the weather just bundle up and embrace it. Get out for a brisk walk. Get some sun on that face. Inhale the cool, crisp air. Snowshoeing, skiing, skating, sleigh rides. Doesn’t matter what the activity, just get out there. It’ll do you a world of good.
3. Less TV and screen time. The winter is the season for Netflix, binge watching and movies. We spend hour after hour in front of the screen. But the blue light emitted from TV and computer screens suppresses our melatonin production, which is the hormone that helps us sleep. Instead of TV right before bed, pick up an old fashioned book. Shut down and turn off!
4. Plan something fun. Not all of us are able to getaway for a winter vacation every year, but we can plan fun things to do at home, with friends and in our own city. Plan a games night, go to dinner with old friends, or check out a museum. Having something fun in the calendar to look forward to really does help lift the spirits. Get fun and social!
5. Cut the crap. Many of my clients look to sugar as a way to get through life. It becomes the old standby, the good friend that is always there to comfort and soothe. The thing is, it actually does more harm than good. Try to minimize the processed refined foods and enjoy more real whole, nutrient-dense foods. Eat real food!
6. Pamper yourself. This goes along with planning something fun. With all the busyness of life, we rarely get a chance for self care. So book that massage, mani-pedi or facial. Treat yourself to something pretty and fun. Indulge in some luxurious bath products or a new body lotion. Take time for you!
7. Get moving. When the weather is bad we drive everywhere and when at home we’re snuggled up on the couch or bed. The less we move, the more lethargic we feel. Even if you can’t get outside due to weather, get moving inside. Try a few flights of stairs. Do some squats or lunges. Jumping jacks are fun. Pull out that skipping rope. Try a yoga video. Dance in your living room. Bust a move!
8. Get a good night’s sleep. Screen time, lack of exercise and poor eating all contribute to not enough — or poor — sleep. Implementing some of the tips I’ve suggested here will help with sleep. It’s crucial to your overall physical and mental health and wellbeing to make good sleep a priority. Go to bed!
If you need a little support to get you out of your winter funk, I have a variety of ways we could work together. From private coaching packages, to food diary reviews, one-time nutritional consultations and online group programs, we can find an option to fit your budget and needs. Drop me an email and we’ll schedule a free 30 minute phone conversation to discuss firstname.lastname@example.org.
This post was first published here in the Halifax Citizen on April 5. 2016.