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Walking in the Winter Wonderland

Fight back when the Midwest Winter Blah's hit you!

Ugh…Don't know why, but this year's Daylight Savings Time change is causing me to “Lose” it not Save it! More so than previous years. Feels like it gets dark at noon and then I just count the hours til I can go to bed! It’s not the cold, I like sunshine-at least part of the day :) I'm sure I'll get over it-I guess I better, we have at least FOUR more months of winter ahead of us-yippee!! Last week I ate an entire box of fudge that my "friend". brought me from South Carolina :/ Made me feel better in the moment but if I keep that up I will be totally depressed....

Up until a few weeks ago, I have been walking with a friend 3-4 miles, 4 times every week-including on our vacation in Florida, where we actually walked 5 days. (oh…we're so good! :) It's been part workout, part "therapy" and it's been awesome "outside" time! Mostly it's been sunny during our walks, but that’s changed a bit in the last couple weeks...we’ve had a few days of rain so we've done yoga or strength training at my house, inside. Today as we were walking, she agreed that this year seems to be a tougher transition into our “Midwest Winter”! It’s got to be because we haven't been able to get out as much. Or we were in Florida, the Sunshine State, and came to cold and dark.

**In case you are wondering, this post isn't just about my "Winter Whining", bear with me, I have some survival ideas to share!

I have always struggled with the "winter blahs", no doubt because of the stress of the holidays. I have a couple challenging personalities in my family (of course, not any of you who are reading this post!) and in my opinion, the holidays give these people the green light to "act out" their dysfunctions!) Plus, I know that I'm not alone when I admit that I struggle with a type of grief this time of year, it reminds me that my son would rather be anywhere but with us :(  The holidays often shine a light on our losses, whether they are physical, emotional, or circumstantial.

This year brings some additional anxiety for me... you know that feeling when you are thinking "I seriously cannot handle one more bad thing" and then it's SIX more things?? This fall has brought some very scary situations, like my dad’s cancer; my nephew’s risky, but necessary surgery; and a couple loved ones with serious illnesses. I know…if you weren't feeling depressed before, I'll bet you are you NOW, right??

Since I'm not one to just sit there and suffer, I’ve created a plan:

  • I'm going to keep moving-outside whenever possible, I’ll just bundle up! In fact maybe I'll sign up for the Reindeer Run 5K. I’ll continue to workout indoors, too. Physical activity is a proven stress reliever so it makes perfect sense
  • I've invested in a "light box". Off and on over the years this has been recommended to me, I'm finally going to give one a try. It simulates sunlight so I can read email or a book, watch a movie or whatever, and reap the benefits that sunshine gives me.
  • I'm going to work harder at eating right. Sometimes "comfort food" is a necessity :) but too much sugary, fatty foods will make me feel fat, sluggish-and cranky. Healthy foods will give me strength to face whatever comes up-and I'll feel better
  • Another thing I'm going to do is create a “Gratitude Journal” filled with everything I am grateful for. Big and small! Each morning I plan read over it and add at least one more thing I’m thankful for-even if the best I can come up with is that I'm thankful that I woke up this morning!!
  • Finally, I am going to make the time to do things I enjoy. In the book "Power of Full Engagement" the author states that by mentally getting away from it all for 30-60 minutes a day will make me more productive the rest of the day. Yea! I like that!

Whether or not you battle the winter blues, I invite you to try some of these ideas and maybe the cold, dark days will fly by!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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