Yes, that’s me, Grinchified. Where I live, the winters aren’t awful, but usually still cold and often rainy. It’s just not cold enough to snow, so no fun sledding or building snowmen. The holidays are filled with fun times with friends and family, and then I blink and it’s back to the regular days. I often find myself feeling like the Grinch around this time of year. If you struggle with the same thing, here are some tips on brightening your spirits this winter:
1) Get some sunshine each morning. If you wake up to a sunny morning, try to get in a walk before breakfast or sit in a sunny spot in your house to eat breakfast. If those aren’t good options for you, consider purchasing a light box (available from online retailers like Amazon.com). Experts say light is the key to combating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and it’s best to get 30 minutes between 6am-8am. For most of us, it may not be sunny at 6am in the winter, so that’s where the light comes in handy.
2) Drink tea. Tea is relaxing and calming and can provide health benefits. If you can, try something different, like peppermint or licorice tea that can aid in digestion, helping you get the most from your foods. Green and black teas contain L-theanine and antioxidants that are good for you as well.
3) Keep taking your vitamins and minerals. Vitamin D is essential in the winter when we aren’t getting as much sunlight.
4) Do your best to avoid the sugary snacks. It’s hard this time of year, I know. At my house, we move straight from Christmas into birthday season. We actually have a birthday celebration every week in January (5 boys in our family have birthdays in January). So, I get how hard it is to avoid sweets and comfort foods this time of year. While the sugar snacks do boost the production of serotonin, they only lead to a sugar crash later. Try to choose low-glycemic foods like eggs, whole grains, etc. I usually pick one “treat” per day during this season. Yes, per day (I’m not big on depriving myself). If I want a small slice of homemade nut bread, then I pair it with a hardboiled egg or a glass of Kefir so I know I’m at least getting a big protein boost along with the sugar.
5) Avoid making resolutions, especially ones involving diet (we all know how those end up). Instead, try something new. Make it fun, not taxing. Go indoor rock climbing or try a new restaurant every month (or if you have a tight budget, try a new food or recipe at least once each month). Finally, watch this video about making promises instead of resolutions from the founder of “because I said I would”. Be inspired.
These are just a few ideas on how to fight the winter blues. Be sure that you are also still taking your medications regularly and getting your thyroid levels checked regularly. You should also ask your Doctor to check your iron and vitamin D levels on a regular basis. The symptoms of hypothyroidism are also similar to those of vitamin D and iron deficiencies. It’s good to make sure all the bases are covered, especially during the winter months when our bodies are already fighting off winter colds, the flu, dry skin, etc.
A note for parents: Keep in mind that children can often experience the same feelings this time of year. Many of these tips work for them as well. We let our children drink herbal naturally decaffeinated teas and also occasionally some apple cider or hot chocolate. Even they can benefit from a quiet moment sitting in the sun, sipping a cup of something warm. If you are inspired to try a new charity, consider finding one that your children can volunteer with as well. If you want to try a new exercise or activity, consider finding one that everyone can do together (bowling, trampoline park, nature walk, hiking, swimming at indoor pool, etc.). Make sure that even with changing schedules, they are getting their thyroid medication daily and at the same time each day. Oh – and if you want to “Grinch” someone, try the Grinch Cam app from the Apple iTunes Store. It’s a blast!
Hopefully, we’ll blink and it will be Springtime!
By Blythe Clifford