Do You Have the Winter Blues?
Winter blues are the worst. Now that the weather is starting to change, I’m a little concerned about finding ways to stay active even when it’s cold outside. I had knee surgery this summer, so I’ve really been off on getting into a routine of exercise and activity. I definitely don’t want to go into Winter that way. On top of that, my mother has just moved in with my husband and me, and I want to help her stay healthy by remaining active and engaged.
So, for us, we will start with doing something at least three days a week. The
re are certainly many options available to us. It’s still warm enough to walk outside, and we live in a place that has tons of walking trails around with beautiful scenery. I’ve also found something called “chair yoga” which is very achievable for anyone, even if they
have physical limitations. We will also be spending time together planning meals that will contribute to our health.
Especially with the holidays approaching, it’s easy to get off track with healthy eating, but it is so important to keep that in check. Eat as many whole foods as you can, eliminate processed items, and watch out for those things that are inflammatory. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like Winter that much. So, to combine that with a lack of energy, inflammation and general malaise from not eating well is a recipe for disaster.
It can be hard to find the time to plan your exercise and menus. I recommend time blocking. Block out one hour a day to cover this. Early morning is usually best. Try using 45 minutes to do a physical activity, and 15 minutes to plan the menu for that day or at least for dinner. You can make whatever preparations necessary and then you won’t be scrambling at the last minute because you didn’t have a plan. Eating out can be expensive and you don’t really have control over what ingredients are in the food.
Another great option to control what you eat is to get a meal service. We are also doing this for 3 days a week. It’s so convenient to not have to think about what to have for dinner. You receive all the ingredients and a recipe card and just make it in usually 30 minutes or less. There are many different options available online that are able to meet nearly any dietary and budget needs.
Another thing the cooler weather makes me think about is better sleep. I always sleep better when it’s a little chilly inside and I can snuggle up in my bed. I know I’ve talked about sleep before, but it bears repeating as it is something that many people struggle with. Here are some hints about what you can do to improve your sleep.
- Keep the temperature cool in your bedroom. It should definitely be between 54 – 75 degrees. But 65-72 is ideal.
- Get blackout blinds or curtains to keep it nice and dark so that your sleep is not disturbed by a light or early morning sun shining in before you are ready to get up.
- Use ear plugs if you are awakened by every little noise.
- Don’t drink anything with caffeine within 7 hours of going to bed. No exercise, food or alcohol at least two hours before bed.
- Set up a bedtime routine that tells your brain it’s time to go to sleep. Remember when you were little and you had this kind of routine? Put on your pj’s, brush your teeth, wash your face (or take a warm bath or shower), read a little, dim the lights (no electronics), write in a journal, use aromatherapy, etc. Whatever your routine includes, be consistent so that your brain/body is signaled that it’s time to go to sleep.
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