Warming those Winter Blues
This has not been the tamest winter we've experienced in the midwest, and, though the days are getting longer, many of us find ourselves in a bit of a winter funk. Here are a few tips to get that spring in your step back, before spring arrives:
- Stay hydrated
Sometimes, with all the water around us, in the form of snow and ice, the last thing we think about is drinking more of it. During the winter, staying hydrated will help you regulate your body temperature, fight cravings, thin out mucus, and keep all of the body processes running smoothly. Consider aiming for ½ your body weight in ounces of water in addition to eating more foods with high-water content (fruits and veggies to name a few).
- Move your body
We often slow down, curl up, or cover ourselves and...sit. Getting some exercise in will help boost your mood, give you more energy, and whittle the waistline so that when it's time to unearth your summer clothes and swimsuits, you'll actually be able to fit in them. The first step may be the hardest one you take. Get off the couch. The second step is much easier – bundle up and take a short walk, find a dance or fun aerobic video on Youtube, do some yoga/stretching, or join a gym to create some support and accountability for working out.
- Stay social
We often retreat into our own 'caves' and watch television while we wait for winter to be over. Visiting with friends and making an effort to stay connected will be a good boost for your mood and get you out of the house. Plan a short trip somewhere warm to help plant the thought-seed that spring really is just around the corner.
- Get Enough Vitamin D
Our limited exposure to sunlight causes our vitamin D levels to drop and affects our mood and energy levels. Get outside for 5-10 minutes to let the sun on your skin, include more vitamin D food sources (cold water fish or fortified milk) or consider taking a supplement.
- Eat well Limit sugar and refined grains, sources of 'empty carbohydrates' while increasing the bounty of vegetables available in the season. Winter squash, dark green vegetables, butternut squash cabbage, broccoli and brussel sprouts are great winter veggies. Root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots and beets have tons of nutrients as well. Winter is a good time to incorporate animal protein, if that's part of your diet. Try the Spicy Beef Chili for a delicious, warming dinner!
Staying active and making healthy choices will help keep you warm and well. Take heart - spring is on its way!