Monday, November 9, 2009

Winter Wellness

Yep. It’s about that time of year again. I don’t know about you, but I already find myself craving junk food & not wanting to leave the house as much...

It’s no secret that when seasons change, people change too. We often become more withdrawn, less active, & in some cases, unhappy. On the other hand, we become blessed with beautiful landscapes, no mosquito bites, & the kind of creative surge that only cold weather can provide. Let’s explore the different ways we can make this year's change with the season a positive one…

I. Exercise

It’s been said a million times before & will be said a million times again simply because it’s effective. When we exercise, our brains release serotonin, which give us that same satisfied feeling we get after eating a huge bowl of pasta, but without all the carbohydrates.

Studies have shown that regular exercise of just 30 minutes a day is enough to fight depressive symptoms. Don’t have 30 minutes to spare? Studies have also shown that three 10-minute walks have the same effect as one 30-minute walk!

I know, I know, no one likes to walk in the freezing cold; I’ve found that walking back & forth in the house or just doing jumping jacks or pushups or whatever you like to do works just fine. Not only can it help combat depressive feelings, but it gives us more energy & keeps the extra weight off.

II. Make Plans & Stick to Them

Since we have a natural tendency to want to retreat into our own space for the winter, sometimes the most effective way to fight that instinct is to make plans with others. It forces us to leave the house in order to honor commitments with friends & family. We almost always end up thanking ourselves for it later.

Other ideas for staying busy can include volunteer work, joining a club or taking a class. Yoga classes, art shows, musical events, recreational sport leagues, book clubs, dinner groups, homeless shelters, poetry readings – whatever your thing is, just get out there & do it!

III. Be Creative

Cold weather has a way of bringing out the artistic side. Some of us are already musicians, writers & artists professionally & some of us recreationally. Regardless of your lifestyle, the winter months are the time for us to do some of our best work. Sketch out ideas for a winter-long project & work to complete it! It will give you an excuse to keep the television off & give you a sense of accomplishment when completed.

Also, creativity doesn’t have to be limited to music, art & writing. It can be anything outside of the normal routine. Take up a new hobby, call an old friend, read that book you’ve been neglecting, play scrabble with loved ones, learn to cook a new dish, do that thing you’ve been talking about, but never had the time for. Ya know?


*If you have anything to add to this list, please post it as a comment!

No comments: