I know, I’m supposed to be content in all situations. I’m not supposed to grumble or complain. Okay! Okay! But can you just give me a minute to vent? I hate WINTER! Great! Now that I got that off my chest, let’s move on. I really don’t hate everything about winter. I like the snow and the holidays, but I hate not being outside and active like I am in the warmer months. The limited daylight and colder temperatures make it much less inviting to do the things I enjoy outside. In the wonderful Ohio Valley, we have more than our share of cloudy and raining days in the winter. I think I must have some hibernation tendencies in me because it’s a pretty much a guarantee that I’m going to gain an extra 10 pounds every winter. I also notice that my energy and mood tend to be lower. My wife might even say I have a bad attitude in the winter. And she might be right!
So, over the years, I’ve had to be very intentional about taking care of myself especially in the winter months. I understand that I have a choice in how my winters are going to go, and how I’m going to deal with them. Here are some of the things that I have used to stay healthy and keep my winter blues in check:
Be intentional about your exercise and activity level. Typically this is so much easier in the summer. But in the winter you have to make it a priority. Join a gym. Schedule a time in your day to workout. Sign up for a basketball or volleyball league. Join us at Rock Solid Families for a fitness class.
Limit your screen time. TV’s, computers, and phones all have one thing in common, they have you sitting on your tail way too much. Excessive sitting causes muscles and joints to get stiff. It also is not demanding many calories, so your calories are stored as fat. Ugh!
Start an indoor project. Maybe it’s time to remodel or paint a room. Do you have a garage or barn that you can fix a vehicle or restore an old car in? How about a woodworking project? My mom used to love to do a winter puzzle!
Commit to an activity or organization several hours a week. Maybe it’s a bible study at church, or lunch with friends. Putting this on the calendar gives you something to look forward to and gets you out and moving.
Be mindful of your eating, especially the carbs! Carbohydrates are sometimes called “feel-good” foods. Sugars and grains that taste good and make us feel good, but only for a short time. Carbohydrates play havoc on your body. You crave them, they make you feel good, then, crash! Yes, due to the insulin rush into your bloodstream to pull all that sugar out of the blood and into the cells as fast as possible. The problem is this immediate rise and fall of sugar in the bloodstream leaves us feeling tired, groggy, and even depressed. If this is happening on a daily basis, we can find ourselves dealing with sugar-induced depression.
Sunlight exposure! There is no shortage of research data that demonstrates how exposure to sunlight helps to lift our mood. Over the years, researches have coined the phrase S.A.D., Seasonal Affective Disorder. S.A.D., is actually nothing new. It used to go by such terms as Winter Blues or Cabin Fever. S.A.D. is simply a drop in mood and energy that is triggered by the reduced amount of sunlight exposure. Most people experience some level of this but are able to work through it without incident. However, if S.A.D symptoms are keeping you from being the person you know you can be, then it may be time to get help. Diet, exercise, prayer, artificial sun-lamps, talk therapy, and even medications are among the few things available to reverse S.A.D.
Okay, so now that I’ve reminded myself on how to get through these cold, dark dreary days of winter. I need to get out of my chair and go for walk! Embrace the cold!
Do everything without complaining and arguing...