How to enjoy the shorter days ahead.
We have arrived in November and the time of year when the days start getting shorter. For many of us, this can bring many changes that can be stirred up inside us due to the change in season. This time of year can also get us thinking about the winter that's just around the corner, and I want to share with you some easy ways to combat that feeling we sometimes get when the leaves fall off the trees, and we start unpacking our winter gear in preparation for the upcoming hibernation months of winter.
Why am I talking about the hibernation months of winter?
Depending on where you live—New York City versus Los Angeles—winter will either be something you dread or something that passes you by without noticing.
Sometimes even people who live in warmer states like California experience cyclical changes that affect their moods and disposition.
The extreme form of these changes is called SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you've been following me for a while, you might be aware of my weariness around labeling human functions as "disorders." It's a topic for another post, but for now, let's go with the terminology used in the medical community - consider the fact that there's nothing fundamentally wrong with YOU if you've identified with any "disorder." SAD is a cyclical form of depression caused by changes in the circadian rhythm—a 24-hour cycle that regulates biochemical processes in the body.
For some people, as the hours of sunlight decrease in the fall and winter, their circadian rhythm cycle can become disrupted. The hormone melatonin and the neurotransmitter serotonin suddenly drop in the winter, and this causes lethargy, depression, irritability, and weight gain.
So what are my top 10 tips for beating the shorter winter days ahead?
Take Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3 is not a vitamin; it’s a steroid hormone manufactured in the body from direct exposure to sunlight. Because sunlight is weak or scarce in some winters, be sure to buy Vitamin D3 supplements to make up for lost sunlight.
Invest in a high-quality light therapy sun lamp: Light therapy sunlamps are often household necessities in states that suffer from lack of winter sunshine like Washington. Be sure to invest in a high-quality sun lamp that you can use throughout the day for 15 minutes at a time.
Hibernate happily: Sometimes it’s best to surrender to winter and take up hibernation like a bear. You can watch movies you’ve always wanted to see or curl up on the couch with a good book you’ve meant to read or get all cozy by the fire in your favorite woolly socks.
Eat warm, nourishing comfort foods: Use this time to make those creamy bean soups and hearty squash and root vegetable stews that you’ve wanted to try. It will nourish and warm your body and spirit.
Watch comedy shows and improv that make you laugh out loud: Laughter is the best medicine. Download your favorite comedian and watch the show till you have a stitch in your side from laughing or put on your dress to impress outfit and invite a friend out to see your favorite comedian live.
Layer up and go for walks outside in the cold, fresh air: Just because it’s cold out, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be outside. As long as you layer up with woolly hats, down jackets and long johns, even the snow and sleet will be your friend. Take a stroll on a cold wintery evening and return home refreshed. The stillness of the outdoors during snowfall is wonderous.
Spend time soaking it up in a hot tub or sauna: There is nothing that raises your body heat quite like soaking it up in a hot tub or sauna. Just do it weekly throughout winter. You can’t go wrong.
Find a movement class that makes you sweat: Getting your body moving floods you with feel-good endorphins. So find a high energy dance class like Zumba or African Dance or even belly dancing and get grooving. Then treat yourself to a cup of hot chocolate, or espresso love afterward with your new dance friend.
Buy some fabulous looking winter outfits, so you don’t feel frumpy: Take all your old, moth-eaten sweaters to Goodwill and buy yourself some stylish, head-turning winter gear so you can go out and about in style.
Take a vacation somewhere sunny or tropical: If the winter months are merely unbearable, there is nothing that breaks it up better than a short vacation to a brilliant place like Hawaii or Mexico. It will give you the boost to get through the rest of the winter - this time with a tan.
How will I know which of these tips will work for me?
I'm glad you asked. Start by picking your top three that just jump out at you. Those are the ones that naturally appeal to you the most—so that’s a great place to start.
Next, schedule a time on your calendar to do them starting tomorrow.
So if you picked hot tub, movement class, and nourishing soup, then go out today and buy the ingredients for the soup to cook tomorrow and find a movement class you can start next week and treat yourself to your local hot tub spa on the weekend.
Once you’ve done your three activities, keep doing them if you enjoy them or ditch them if you don’t. And then start adding more from your top 10 list until pretty soon winter will be over, and you will crave to do it all over again.
What do I do now?
If you are one of those people prone to the winter blues and you want to make sure not to fall into that rut this year, then click here now to schedule a time to speak with me about more ways to make your winter months not only bearable but pleasurable too.
I can help you come up with a plan that feels good in your bones, and I can help you implement it and follow through so that you can beat the winter blues this year for real.
Peace + Love,
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