7 Strategies to Overcome the Winter Blues

woman by lake with snowWe need a strategy to fight the blues during wintertime especially if we live in a cold climate. I live in the Northeast and find the 7 strategies below help me transcend winter doldrums. Wintertime is beautiful and I love spending time in the snow, but there is also a chemical change, which takes place during cold temperatures so we shouldn’t ignore the scientific and nutritional realities associated with the winter season.

1. Getting Sunshine

Most people are stuck in their offices or homes most of the day. Even in the winter, you need to go and take a walk or perform some other exercise. If it looks like the sun is hidden while snow is on the ground, you still benefit by spending time outdoors.

There is a synergistic and energetic connection between you and nature. There are rays of sun penetrating your skin and psyche even during a cloudy winter day so get out there and get a taste! Upon returning home, you will feel better and be grateful that you pulled on a sweater or put on a jacket and boots to tromp around outside.

Vitamin D is powerful. Take a Vitamin D supplement, 1000 or more IU, in the winter when there is less natural sunshine. I always benefit from this nutritional change during the winter because it helps stave off chemical imbalances that contribute to seasonal depression.

2. Get a Sun Lamp

Many during the winter love these “blue lights” and you can find an array of choices on Amazon or other places. It’s simply a way to supplement that missing light source during the winter. Many people swear that sun lamps have wiped out their winter depression.

3. Take a Sunny Vacation

I live in the Boston area and I always make it a point to go south for 1-2 weeks where I can enjoy lots of sunshine and warmth. Typically, I try to time the vacation during the coldest month of the year. This helps break up our routine and monotony during the winter. When I say “vacation”, I am still working while on the trip. 🙂

4. Rest Properly in the Winter

During the winter, you’re already lacking sunlight so you should ensure that you have enough sleep. Imitate many animals in nature and hibernate if you wish! Sleeping slightly longer hours can be beneficial during this season.

5. Learn to Laugh

You may consider watching more funny movies, hanging out with funny people, or going to comedy clubs during the winter. Norman Cousins cured himself of cancer with laughter. We know laughter is a powerful tonic against a myriad of ills too many to count.

6. Sex During the Winter

I don’t think I have to explain the health benefits of sex…or do I? Lets just consider that we should engage with our partners more often during the bluesy winter because there are so many chemical benefits to intercourse and we know that winter and low sunlight affect us chemically. In addition, loving affection is a powerful, healing, energetic force that will help alleviate any sore feelings exacerbated during winter times.

7. Increase Gratitude

Gratitude is always a tonic for depression and the blues during any time. We can ALWAYS find gratitude and guess what? It just so happens that it’s impossible to be depressed and grateful at the same time. Are you alive right now? That is a huge reason to be grateful because you get to experience planet Earth and its amazing splendor. Do you have a home? I would say that’s a huge reason to be grateful. Gratitude is a habit. Right now, you can look at something and be grateful. Personally, I’m sitting in a comfortable chair right now drinking a green smoothie made with organic kale. I’m grateful for that. I’m also grateful this blog post may actually help others in a positive way.

Of course, there are many other strategies people employ during the winter. I didn’t even mention winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. This is many people’s favorite activity during the year so a lot your strategy comes down to perspective and trying to formulate a positive, loving attitude no matter you present condition or setting.

10 Healthy Snacks for Traveling

frogs traveling on vacation

We all travel sometimes and it can be really tough to maintain our health goals and nutrition guidelines when our favorite foods aren’t around in the new environment. There are ways to keep this predicament simple and so we can mostly stay on track while traveling. Many professionals, who travel a lot for their careers, complain that it’s difficult to eat well and exercise, but it’s getting easier every year with more awareness about our individual health guidelines and an industry that is increasingly focused on healthy travel for people like us! Like many areas in your life, preparation is key. Just prepare for the inevitable inconvenience that sometimes occurs when traveling and not finding healthy foods nearby.

Find these Snacks in Most Local Stores

 

1. Hard Boiled Eggs – I love eggs as a protein source because they are so easy to prepare. You can find hard-boiled eggs in many roadside stores on your travels.

2. Potato Chips – I put potato chips on this list because now you can find healthier brands of chips that don’t include added sugars or other chemicals. As always, you have to read ingredient labels. Compared to 20 years ago, we now have many healthier options when it comes to chips and snacks. In addition, there are different types of oils used in potato chips now and of course some oils are healthier than others. Try to stay away from canola, safflower, etc. if possible.

3. Water – As I’ve discussed elsewhere, many times we are thirsty and not actually hungry. You could be mistaking your hunger urges for dehydration. Try a bottle or cup of water and see if you’re still just as hungry.

4. Yogurt – This is another treat that you can find in many convenience stores and when comparing it to ice cream or a Popsicle, plain yogurt with no sugar added could be a great snack. This is especially true if you add some fruit and nuts to the yogurt.

5. Dark Chocolate – We all(well most of us) love some chocolate once in a while. If you get the urge for something sweet while traveling, try some dark chocolate. Look for cacao being the main ingredient instead of sugar on the label.

6. Fruit – Fruits are packed with micronutrients. This is one of the most readily available foods while traveling. I love bananas and keep them in my car constantly because they have thick skin, which is conducive for preservation. In addition, bananas are usually cheap.

7. Caffeinated Drinks – If you need a pep in your step, then get some unsweetened iced tea or unsweetened coffee. Even some main brands like Starbucks are starting to bottle their ice coffee with unsweetened options. Drinking and eating unsweetened items is mainly a habit that we can engrain through repetition.

8. Peanut Butter – Just like previously mentioned, look for the unsweetened peanut butter or other nut butters. They are harder to find, but becoming more common within small markets and gas stations.

9. Nuts – I like nuts as a traveling food because they help balance your blood sugar while providing a nutritive punch. Like bananas, nuts preserve well and you can take them anywhere. No wonder squirrels and other critters love nuts so much!

10. Energy bars – You’ve seen the array of energy bars in gas stations and other stores while traveling. Many of these so-called “energy bars” are loaded with sugar to keep you addicted and returning for more so make sure you read the ingredients and look for a natural sweetener such as stevia and less chemical names on the ingredient label.

There you have it! Those are ten foods to consider while traveling. These foods are usually not difficult to find and they can become part of a maintenance plan enabling you to stay on track while traveling. Remember to give yourself a break and realize you may not be able to completely adhere to your normal dietary guidelines while traveling. It’s just very difficult find some of your normal energy foods while you may be fatigued and out of sorts during a trip. If you have any other traveling food recommendations, let me know!

7 Ways to Prioritize Your Life

schedule words in collageThere simply is not enough time to get everything done. You may have been fooling yourself most of your life by pretending that it’s possible to get everything done, but we must get clear on reality.

How do you know what to prioritize when you simultaneously understand that everything will not get done? You can establish a willingness to let go of unnecessary baggage in life. Every day, successful people practice the art of letting go. This is key if you want to become efficient reaching your goals.

1. Set Your Grandest Goals

What are the main goals for your life? Would you like to have children, become a millionaire, own a business, or become a spiritual teacher? You must know your main life goals, which can take years to achieve. Once you have this, you can start taking baby steps every day towards those goals. These goals should make you feel excited when you think about them…and you SHOULD think about your goals every day. By now, you probably understand the power behind the subconscious mind and how it produces much of our reality.

2. Stop Putting Everyone Else First

If you don’t take care of yourself first, you can’t help others efficiently. It is not selfish to take care of yourself and love yourself. Contrarily, it’s a necessity if you want to serve others. You may need to get professional help or join a support group if you’ve been a caretaker your whole life and want to establish a new pattern of giving yourself equal care.

3. Learn to Say No

Once you’ve established your clear life goals, now you can learn to say no to everything else. Parry away those incoming distractions and regain focus on your established goals or priorities. Saying “no” is a learned skill. Also, remember it is “how” you say it, but not necessarily “what” you say. You can say “no” to family and friends in a compassionate way that allows you to maintain relationships while staying focused.

4. Find Activities to Stop

Take an inventory of your daily activities. Which ones can you “stop” because they do not align under your few established life goals? Remember, any activity that doesn’t align with your established life priorities is a distraction and should be eliminated. Beware of the wandering mind! It loves distraction.

5. Clearing Clutter

Take 5 minutes per day to walk around your home and declutter. Put things away as much as possible. A cluttered home is the manifestation of a cluttered mind. Keeping your space somewhat neat and orderly helps you stay focused on your primary goals. This is especially true if you have a desk or workspace. Try to keep that work surface clear and organized especially in the morning when you begin your work.

6. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

Henry David Thoreau once said, “simplify, simplify, simplify” and this quote is often present inside when I’m trying to become more efficient and aligned towards my life goals. Can you simplify your email accounts? Can you digitize your paperwork? Can you cut down on the amount of furniture you own? Studies show some of the happiest people on Earth own very little material items.

7. Meditate or Spend Time in Silence

When I spend a few minutes each day in prayer and silent meditation, I finish the sessions with a vision consisting of more clarity and less anxiety. I naturally see the next step in my journey more easily. Previous to meditation, I became confused more easily and held less confidence regarding my next steps in life.

These are seven steps that should give you a beginning towards a more conscious life pregnant with your loftiest dreams and exciting steps along the way. Most people do not have clear priorities in life, which have been established after careful consideration. Journal your main goals in life. Brainstorm this subject and you will be way ahead of most people on the planet.