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!

How to Reframe Our Health Issues

cutout of cloud over a real cloud

Reframing our health issues is key to transcending certain issues while healing. We can always find a way to discern something beneficial from a previously viewed tragedy. I’ll discuss the positive intentions of symptoms, reframing health issues, and an example relating to self love.

Is a Health Symptom a Positive Intention?

What if we thought positively in regards to our health conditions? When I have an eczema breakout is my body crying for help in some way? Should I keep neglecting my body and continue the same habits while expecting a different result? Perhaps I can take an oral medication or slap on some skin cream to make it temporarily go away. This is a way of telling my body to “shut up, I don’t like what you’re telling me. Go away”.

Instead of telling our body to shut up maybe we should examine ourselves and find out if there is something going awry in our lifestyle. For example, if I begin eating a lot more greens per day and my eczema goes away then my body actually helped forge a new healthy eating pattern, which could help stave off afflictions such as cancer or other diseases as I get older.

Reframing is the Key

I’ve been discussing psychologically reframing. It’s simply learning to see things from a different viewpoint. This new viewpoint could reveal other healing modalities or imbalances that need to be addressed. This is part of a life consisting of self-examination.

You can see that reframing an issue changes the meaning completely. Now, a health issue is not something ugly to be avoided and shut up, but it’s simply a call to please pay attention to your body and perhaps change some health patterns. Have you ever noticed that some cancer survivors say it was the best thing that ever happened to them? They successfully reframed the issue and learned transformational lessons along the way during their healing journey. Those lessons would have never been learned if it wasn’t for their body sending a strong message through cancer.

I know this can be controversial and seem cruel to people whom have endured deaths related to cancer. I have a close family member who died while struggling with lung cancer. I understand the loss, but I’m also recognizing that I’ve learned lessons and even experienced a change in relationship with the person who died. We can always reframe issues because the Reality, God, or the Universe is always speaking to us if we stop, consider, and listen. Help is always on the way. At least, this has been my experience.

Is Overeating a Lack of Self Love?

Could overeating be a lack of self love? Have you ever considered that? What if all health problems could be healed with more love? I know this could sound too esoteric or idealistic, but there is a rich history of metaphysical literature that suggests enough love can heal anything.

I can testify that practicing greater levels of self love is a powerful determinant in progress towards transformation. There are so many ways we can increase self love. We can eat better, exercise more, procrastinate less, associate with healthier people, create healthier boundaries in our social circles, heal important relationships, etc. Self love is something that can be fully integrated into our daily awareness.

To summarize, reframing is about being open minded. How can I see this differently? What is the possible message being sent to me? Is there something I can learn from this experience? Should I keep doing the same thing and expect a different result? We are all deeply rooted to our patterns and sometimes it takes great pain or suffering to break loose. You’re not alone. Talk to others who are in a similar situation. Better yet, talk to someone who has overcome the issue that is plaguing you.