I struggle in the winter. BIG TIME. The holidays are over, the layers are never ending and it’s only the beginning of frigid cold. Say hello to seasonal affective disorder, my friends. Last year was really hard for me. I slept all the time, ate takeout a ton and gained a good ten pounds. Or more. This year, I’m determined to make things better. Here are a few tips that have helped me or that I want to try this year.
1. Take time to appreciate beauty.
This might seem silly, ok. But it’s been helping me a lot over the past month when the temps have dropped below 40 (brr!) I’ll take time to consciously appreciate the sunlight rays coming through the buildings as I walk to work. Or I’ll take note of a beautiful photograph I see on Pinterest. When you start to focus on the positive, the negative doesn’t have much room to squeeze in, now does it?
2. Get some sun.
I’m not saying go tanning (although, confession, I did used to do this in college to help my S.A.D.) - but instead, take a mid-day walk. It doesn’t have to be long. But just enough to give you that bit of vitamin D your body is craving.
3. Take vitamins regularly.
I am the worst at remembering to take vitamins, but it’s essential to our bodies. I usually take Vitamin C, a women’s multivitamin and B12 for energy. This year, I’m going to also try Vitamin D supplements too.
4. Take a vacation to somewhere warm.
I do this every single year. I have to. Even if it’s for a long weekend. JUST DO IT. We usually take our FL vacation sometime at the end of January or February (before the spring break crowds.) For the first day or so, it’s like my soul is unthawing, no joke. But by the end of the trip, I feel like myself again. It’s a beautiful thing.
5. Eat clean.
I saw this tip from my friend Jaclyn on insta the other day. She also deals with the winter blues and is giving clean eating a try. Eating clean basically means eating more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff (#rocketscience.) Great foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, farm-fresh eggs, while good foods include whole wheat bread and pasta, popcorn, steel-cut oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, frozen fruits and vegetables. I think we all know which foods are bad.
6. Limit caffeine intake.
Let me be clear - I am not condoning skipping your mooring cup of joe because it’s not something I would ever do myself. But if you’re downing a cup in the AM, with lunch, with an afternoon snack and around dinnertime, reign it in just a tad.
This is the biggest one, and I’m really talking to myself here. I get so tired after work and my summertime routine of biking after work just isn’t happening in the dark. So I need to work on finding a way to stay fit and keep those endorphins up this season. I’ve recently started taking advantage of my gym at work during my lunch hour and I've felt a huge improvement.
8. Don’t let the sun dictate your schedule.
This was another great tip from Jaclyn. The sun goes down sooo early, and all of a sudden, I’m getting home at like 7, eating at 8, and heading straight to bed around 9. Don’t get me wrong here - I’m a huge proponent of sleep…but you gotta live a little too! Step away from your desire to slumber all winter long and spend a little extra time reading your favorite book one evening. Or grab drinks with a friend after work.
9. Pick up a few cute coats and cold weather essentials.
I’m not saying spend a ton of money here. This one (last seen here) is not only super cute and warm, but it’s also under $80! Pick up some cozy earmuffs and an oversized scarf (love these from Acacia Scarves!) Ever since I started upping my cold-weather fashion game, I’ve felt more apt to leave the house with confidence, knowing that fashion and comfort don’t have to compromise.
10. Focus on a passion or learn something new
I’ve found so much joy this season from reading. I’m not saying I’m the best reader or the fastest reader, but I love it all the same. Last year, I read about 10 books (although The Goldfinch may as well count as 3 books it was so long) and was really proud of making time for myself to indulge in a great story. I have also gotten into calligraphy (I’m taking a class on Skillshare) which has been another fun creative outlet for me. Focus on taking time to do things you enjoy (instead of my default plopping down in front of our TV) and you’ll see a big difference in attitude this season in yourself.
Those are my best tips - do you have any you think I missed? If so, let me know and I’ll add them to the list!