Oh winter… As I told my husband yesterday, “I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.”. I cannot stand the cold, wind, and darkness. It definitely affects me and if I didn’t take some proactive steps, I would be one bummed out hermit for about six months of the year. I am most certainly not alone in this issue; I’m going to give you some ideas of strategies to help make the next few months more tolerable, and I’d love to hear what you do to help yourself!
Remember the timeless statement made by Elle Woods in Legally Blonde – “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy! Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!”? Ahh yes, that was a good one. She was right though, exercise can have a huge impact on your mood. The benefits definitely go way beyond changing your body. A workout can actually increase your energy, get those happy hormones flowing, and improve your sense of well-being. Not a regular gym-goer? No worries, feel free to use the terms “exercise” and “workout” loosely. Go snowboarding, snowshoeing, play outside in the miniscule amount of snow with your kids! Just get some blood pumping for 20-30 minutes and it can make a world of difference.
I know that there’s a more technical term for it, but I call it my happy light. You can sorta trick your brain into thinking you’re basking in the sun by sitting in front of one of these for even just 20 minutes a day. A lot of people go to work in the dark and come home in the dark, and could literally hardly see the light of day for days on end. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t sign up to be a vampire; I need a little light in my life! There are actually light therapy boxes to use for this sort of thing – a regular lamp isn’t going to do the trick. I have a relatively small one that just sits on my desk in my home office that I just turn on while I’m in there working. It doesn’t have to a be a complicated addition, just fit it in somewhere in your normal routine.
Vitamin D is hard to find in our every day diets, and we’re not getting much if any from the sun during the darkest days of winter, so it’s generally a good idea to supplement it somehow. According to the U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements:
“It has been suggested by some vitamin D researchers, for example, that approximately 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen usually lead to sufficient vitamin D synthesis and that the moderate use of commercial tanning beds that emit 2%–6% UVB radiation is also effective.”
You can also take a supplement that contains Vitamin D & calcium – they work together to keep your bones strong & prevent osteoporosis, which everyone can appreciate.
The bulbs in our tanning bed here have 6.5% UVB rays, so you may consider using it if you’re looking for a little warmth and “sunshine”. Tanning bulbs are not all created equal – they have various percentages of UVA and UVB rays, so if you’re going to tan it would be wise to do a little research on what the bed of your choice uses.
Just remember, solstice has passed, we’re over the hump and spring is right around the corner!!