Monday, January 15, 2018

Tips for Avoiding the Winter Blues









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Happy Monday friends! Is anyone else freezing in these cold temps? It was a -40 wind chill  in northwest Iowa last week. Apparently it was colder here than it was in Antarctica... I don't think that's normal! At least its a good excuse to put on some comfy clothes and curl up with a good book. Speaking of that, I think most of us tend to feel a little more like homebodies during this time of year. It's freezing out, the snow gets into everything, and soon enough winter has me feeling like I'm living in the pit of misery. Anyone relate?? 

A friend of mine recently told me about "the winter blues" and I definitely think this happens to more of us than we realize! After a few years of living in the tundra northwest Iowa, I've come up with a few ways to help me get through the winter months without feeling like a hermit. I know a lot of people reading here may not live in my area or even in the midwest, but these ideas could be used in any climate. Winter is winter wherever you live!

1. Practice Spontaneity

Now I'll be honest, being spontaneous is NOT in my nature! I plan out just about everything during the weekdays. However being spontaneous every once in awhile has proven to be a fun change. A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I were feeling stir-crazy. We had two friends bail on Saturday night plans (not a huge deal, both were for understandable reasons!) and we were stuck with nothing to do on a Saturday night. After going to dinner and seriously debating heading home for a Netflix bing, we came across an email I had for some unused hotel points that were about to expire. It was perfect timing - we already had plans to head to Sioux Falls the next day to finish Christmas shopping, our plans cancelled for the night and we had nowhere to be. How fun would it be to grab a hotel on the drive over and indulge in a little bit of luxury, even for just a night? We decided to pack our bags, grab some coffees to-go and drive up to Sioux Falls at 9pm! The hotel we chose had a hotel bar that was open late, so we enjoyed a few cocktails once we got there and were up early enough the next morning to get a head-start on shopping. All of that to say, being spontaneous for us was a nice change. Even if it's just grabbing a hotel downtown for a stay-cation or maybe heading to that up and coming restaurant you've been dying to try for a late-night treat, I've found that practicing a little spontaneity can prove to boost your mood, and make a fun story!

2. Indulge Your Loved Ones

This is something I want to practice more in 2018! My friends and I are pretty good about keeping in contact via text, but to me there's nothing better than receiving a hand-written letter from a loved one. I have an old envelope where I keep all the letters and notes from friends and family I've received over the years, and whenever I'm having a bad day I take a few out and read them just to boost my mood. Receiving these are wonderful, but writing them are even better. Even if you don't have a reason, sending a quick note expressing your gratitude for your bestie's friendship or leaving a little post-it note in your boyfriend's briefcase can make both you and your loved one feel a little extra special. I made up a little list of friends and family who I want to reach out to, and my goal is to write a quick note to one of them each week!

3. Stay Active

I know, this one is so cliche! But like Elle Woods says, "Exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy!". I started taking my heath and fitness more seriously last year after a particularly stressful couple months, and working out has helped my mood significantly in the colder months. What's helped for me has been using at-home workouts. I don't know anyone who really enjoys heading to the gym when there's a negative wind chill at 5:00am, and luckily my at-home workouts allow me to workout without the commute. Personally, I use Beachbody DVDs and their on-demand program, however you can find tons of free workout videos on YouTube!

4. Make plans... and stick to them! 

How often do we make plans with our girlfriends 10:00am to go out that night, and then by 5:00pm everyone bails because #sweatpantsandtakeout ? As much as I love to go out, sometimes it's hard to stick to plans, especially when its freezing outside. Speaking from personal experience, sticking to your plans no matter how you feel is typically the route to go! Even if it's just for wine night at your bestie's place down the road, keeping to your plans will have you looking forward to something to do and will also show that you're accountable to your friends. Wine nights with my friends have been a monthly staple, and I like to pair a cozy sweater with my most comfortable jeans. I recently bought these jeans for a steal of a deal, and they have just the right amount of stretch without losing their shape. 

5. Invest in a supplement regiment

Let me preface this by saying you should always speak to your doctor first before taking new supplements. Like I said before, I really started paying more attention to my health last year, and with working out and eating healthier comes investing in supplements. Vitamin D supplements have become a staple in my morning routine. You typically receive vitamin D from natural sunlight, as well as from foods like milk, eggs, and mushrooms. Vitamin D also helps in boosting your immune system and has been shown to ease seasonal depression!  I'm not much of a dairy person and I don't have time to make eggs every morning. I've noticed that Vitamin D supplements help make up for what I'm missing. Additionally, I like to take Emergen-C packets once a week as an extra boost for my immune system. I also use protein shakes like Shakeology to help me get a healthy dose of super-foods to keep me healthy during cold and flu season. Again, if you're interested in switching up your supplement rotation, consult your doctor first.

How do you avoid the winter blues? 

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