It's just about that time of year again when everything cools down, rain shows itself and the sun disappears along with our happy rays. The winter months can bring on some serious SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) symptoms and if you're like me you need all the help you can get during those gloomier days to stay a bright and cheery soul!
I became a trainer and nutritionist nearly ten years ago and along with way I have found a few ways to help combat the blues during gloomy days and cold winter months. Here are a few things you can do to help you stay and feel happier this winter.
1. KEEP MOVING! That's right! Exercise is on the menu my dear! Movement is not only medicine, it also helps our bodies and hormones stay balanced on a daily basis. Feeling anxious? That's your body telling you to release some of that energy. Grab your sweats, good shoes and hit the weights. You will thank yourself later.
2. EAT GOOD AND WHOLESOME FOOD. Now this is definitely a tougher one for most of us as the winter months bring the holidays and wanting to cuddle up with a cup of cocoa and a good movie or book. Not that there isn't a time and a place for that, however keeping your body in a healthy place during these months not only keeps that summer bod you worked so hard for but allows your body to absorb all the right nutrients and stay hormonally balanced as well. I tend to also eat with the seasons. In the winter months we consume more veggies such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and different varieties of squashes and potatoes. I also still love to consume a smoothie when the fruit falls out of season and into high high prices.
3. SUPPLEMENT WHERE YOUR NUTRITION IS LACKING. Supplements are great for filling in the gaps and can really help in keeping our overall health at optimal levels. If you live in an area where you cannot get great and fresh foods, this is where supplements can help us. During the days we don't receive as much sunlight (or working inside) taking extra vitamin D can help supplement what you may be missing out on. This is where a multivitamin can be unnecessary. Sometimes going with individual vitamins and minerals is more beneficial for balance.
4. TAKE EXTRA VITAMIN B AND D. Yes both! B vitamins are great for more than just energy, they also help our bodies stay hydrated, boost our mood and metabolism along with strengthen the immune system. Vitamin D is actually a hormone and is necessary any day you wake up breathing. It assists in hormone production and balance, mood, sleep, and immune. Most Americans do not intake enough vitamin D, using a supplement such as Carlsons or Natures Way can really benefit in getting the vitamins we need to keep our body healthy all year around. Higher vitamin D levels in healthy individuals were also found to assist in warding off sickness, including COVID.
5. DON'T GET COMPLACENT. I know it feels really good to just sit down and cuddle up under a blanket during these colder days, however this is where we get too comfortable. Make sure you keep moving. This is not the same type of moving as I mentioned above. This is a great time to find hobbies that keep you busy and keep your mind engaged.
6. AVOID PROCESSED SUGAR. This is a huge one! Especially as we enter the holiday season. It is so tempting to eat it all in one sitting, and there's a very large reason for that. Sugar shuts down the frontal lobe where we process a lot of speech, thought and even movement. When sugar takes over it causes massive amounts of inflammation, especially in the brain. This is why we feel cranky and lethargic after eating something very sugary. I always suggest to my clients to consume with moderation. It is not a bad thing to eat the cookies, pies and enjoy a Hot Toddy. It's overconsumption that leads us to results that we wake up looking in the mirror disliking the next day.
7. TAKE COLD SHOWERS! Whoa! Hold on Kaie, what do you mean? Take a cold shower in winter? Yes! The cold water not only strengthens your immune system but also your nervous system. Which means you can handle the cold better ANNDDD the stresses of the day. Cold showers are amazing! I usually begin with a normal temperature shower and 2-5 minutes before I end my shower I finish out with standing in the cold water for as long as I can handle. This is actually the Wim Hof method. It's highly effective over time.
So here are my best tips to keeping yourself smiling and feeling a bit more upbeat this winter. You don't have to spend the next few months curled up and feeling miserable because its cold out. Grab a friend, hit the gym and enjoy a nice hot meal when you're finished.
Stay warm and happy this year!
Note from the Team.
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