It’s not you. It’s science. It’s simply more difficult to feel energized & optimistic when it’s dark for 15 hours of each day. The body works that way.
You know how a plant wilts if it doesn’t get sunshine? Well, imagine you, in an adult onesie, gripping wine like it’s a lifeline, pretending not to hear your phone ringing and bingeing on hour 6 of Stranger Things?
THAT’S YOU. WILTING.
Compare her to Summer You. Summer you: in the garden, playfully splashing the kids with the hose, thinking about heading out for a bike ride after a light and nutritious dinner of summery things. Maybe calling a girlfriend and going for a walk. Hey! You should totally start a blog! That’s Summer You.
Winter You needs a little help.
Here are my 5 favourite healthy hacks to improve your mood, help your energy levels and get your metabolism kicking at Summer You levels.
Fake sunshine #1
Take a high-dose vitamin D supplement of at least 2,000 IU daily. (A liquid version you can simply drop on your tongue or onto a slice of fruit is easiest for high doses.)
Northern dwellers tend to be Vitamin D deficient, especially in winter months when direct sun & outdoor time is scarce. Vitamin D helps regulate nervous system activity & is associated with seasonal blues, so some of our BLAAAARGGHHH in winter is not just the dark and the cold, it’s hormones. A year-long Vitamin D regimen is a safe way to ensure you don’t become deficient & more prone to BLAAAARGGHHH or outright depression.
Fake sunshine #2
Consider a “wake up light” alarm clock to start your day on the right foot. These sunshine-imitating lights are associated with reduced symptoms of seasonal affectedness disorder/depression. Also known as BLAAAARGGHHH. See above.
If you’re trying to carve time out of your busy day to exercise, morning is prime-time. There is nothing else going on, no work meetings to interrupt you or after-work drinks to distract you. Waking up in the pitch black can be difficult. A wake up light coaxes you awake.
You know what else helps? Programming the coffee to brew just before your alarm. If you’re anything like me, that’ll coax you right the hell out of bed.
Adopt a winter ritual
Plan a weekly outdoor event you enjoy and bundle up well. Invest in real snow boots and a solid winter coat so you’ve got no excuse NOT to get some fresh air. As they say, fail to plan, plan to stay inside and spend the entire winter wishing it was spring. BLAAAAARGGHHH.
Tobogganing is awesome fun & a great workout! Hiking, ice skating, skiing and even “urban hiking” – simply getting out for a long 5-10K family walk, maybe with a hot chocolate stop for a halfway destination, gets everyone out of the house & into the fresh air.
Relocate your home gym
This one is SO simple, but I’ve seen a “home gym” kill a mama’s workout mojo more times than you can say “achoo” between October and May.
Move your home workout area to a naturally lit room of your home (instead of a solitary, dark basement “gym” or spare room) with music or TV to motivate you, & have your weights or equipment ready and workout clothes on in advance. Got a fave Netflix show you never seem to be able to catch up on? Well, if you’re working out, it’s not really Netflixing, is it? That’s a tip, by the way. Write that down.
You can even prep a coffee or tea to sip or a carbonated water to make it feel more like “you time” and less like self-imposed torture.
Make it someone else’s problem
Call on a friend in your area to make a weekly walk/jog date at a time you would otherwise succumb to the power of the couch, like Sunday morning or a weeknight after dinner. Accountability to a waiting friend will tend to make you prioritize the walk/jog/bike ride/workout, and keep it in your calendar as you would any other important appointment.
Socializing AND moving is the perfect antidote to seasonal blues & inactivity.