Everybody Loves Winter, Right?

winter-bluesThe other day one of my clients arrived for her appointment dressed all in black.  Black sweater, black pants, black boots, black coat, black eyeliner and black lipstick. Since this was highly unusual for her, I asked ‘Why all the black?’  She replied ‘It’s February and I’m feeling blue.’

Not everyone loves winter.  As a matter of fact, the signs of the winter blues are fairly obvious these days.  Antsy-ness, pasty skin, cravings for sweets and lethargy are common at this time of year.  And even though both Wiarton Willy and Punxsutawney Phil predicted that spring is just around the corner, http://www.torontosun.com/2013/02/02/wiarton-willie-predicts-on-groundhog-day persevering, until the sudden magical appearance of the crocus, can be a challenge.

Here’s a few suggestions that might help to beat the winter blues.

Upgrade your diet.  Many nutritional studies have linked food to mood.  In other words, what you eat has an effect on how you feel.  During the winter months we tend to crave sugar which provides a temporary emotional boost.  However, once the sugar-affect wears off, mood generally drops. Upgrade your diet to include nuts, salmon, tuna, brown rice, whole grains and especially cabbage to help stabilize blood-sugars, ultimately stabilizing mood.

Sweat a little.  Getting your heart rate above 140 beats per minute every day stimulates the brain chemical that make you feel happier and more at ease.  Exercise is also great to relieve the stress of everyday living and it improves your appearance which boosts confidence and self-esteem.

Embrace a noble mission.  February is a great time to look around your community and find others who are also trying to persevere through winter.  There’s nothing like helping someone else to make you feel better about yourself.

Complete a DIY project.  We are in the midst of a do-it-yourself revolution where we recognize the enjoyment, pride and money savings that comes from completing a project yourself.  So why not try using your opposable thumbs?  The new skills learned, the insight gained to your own style and preferences and the special enrichment that comes from creating, can easily overcome the frustrations of another snowy day.

Use your life line – phone a friend.  We can never underestimate the power of friends.  Ask yourself ‘Who can I count on to offer encouragement and perspective when I need a little pick-me-up?’  Then don’t be shy to call, email or text.  You don’t have to admit you’re feeling low.  Just chat.  It’s amazing how connecting with others, in the simplest of ways, can brighten your mood.

Fake it til you make it.  I’m convinced that if we commit to doing the right things, even if we don’t feel like it, we can alter our thoughts and mood.  So wear bright colours, sing happy songs and watch a funny movie even if you’d rather not.  Positive behaviour will help promote a more positive attitude and before you know it, spring will be here!

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