If you live in a part of the country (or world) that's cold this time of year, then you know that January and February (and even March and April) can be times when the winter doldrums can set in. How do you contend with the long winter in terms of your health and wellness?
During the summer, many of us are active and frequently outdoor. In the summer, we can tend to exercise more, eat more lightly, and otherwise live more healthily. However, in winter, getting our exercise and eating regimen in tune with the season can be a challenge, not to mention the decreased amount of sunlight and cold, cloudy or stormy weather.
Food In Winter
Our bodies naturally crave more carbohydrates and heavier foods in winter (probably a leftover genetic survival trait from the days of frequent famine and lack of fresh foods in the wintertime).
While eating more grains is okay in the short term, the holidays can wreak havoc with our diets and we often need to recover from the deluge of sweets and treats. (This is something I discussed on this blog several times during November and December.)
Even though you're craving potatoes, bread, sugar and other carbs at this time of year, try to balance it all out with greens, fresh salads, soups, and other foods that aren't quite as heavy.
You can still eat a light and healthy diet in winter. It just takes more focus and attention.
This is another place where I personally struggle. I love exercising outdoors but am not very comfortable in the cold. Since I don't ski and can't bike in the cold weather, I have to swim and exercise indoors, and that's just not as fun as my summer exercise patterns. So, I have to work harder at keeping at it. Do you?
The Emotional Side of Winter
Winter can sometimes feel comforting, especially if you have a roaring fire, hot chocolate, a good book and a dog cuddled around your feet on a snowy night. For some of us, winter is a nice inward time that helps us get more done, focus on certain types of projects, and be free of the more expansive aspects of summertime.
We can also become kind of reclusive and down in the winter, especially if we live in a cold climate. With more cloudy days, winter storms, less sunlight and a marked decrease in socializing after the holidays, January and February can feel especially gloomy.
How do you make sure you take good care of yourself emotionally in the winter? What techniques or tools do you make use of?
There are those of us who use special indoor lights that imitate sunlight and help us feel less like we're "in the dark". Those people who can afford a winter getaway to a warm climate hop on planes and fly to the beach. If you can't do that, a special evening at a local spa can sometimes be just the medicine.
What Are Your Tools?
Uplifting music, fun outings, candlelight, special occasions with friends and a stack of good books are just some tools for surviving winter.
How do you get through winter? What helps you to thrive? Please share your secret successes and your frustrations. We can all learn from each other.