How to Shine When the Sun Isn’t

Dear Leah Renee, 

I have a love/hate relationship with Fall and Winter.  One week I feel fine, but then I’ll feel down and wish the sun was out.  The shorter days are kind of depressing.  Tips?!  –Jessica, San Francisco, CA 

Autumn and Winter have their own highs and lows.  After scorching hot weather for months on end, we’re often ready for a wardrobe shift (who can deny a cute pair of boots?!) and some fresh, cool air for change.  Those of you who enjoy winter sports you get to strap on those ice skates, go on that much anticipated ski/snowboard trip, or, sit by the fire and sip some hot cocoa (or all of the above).  Each season we’re ready for a change, and each season the novelty usually wears off after a while and we want the other one back again.  So how do we keep up when temps are low?

1.  As difficult as it can be, stick to your workout routine.  You may find you’re switching from a hike up the mountain to a hike on the treadmill–but you’ll still feel great after sweating it out.  Make a great mix for yourself on your iPod…or i-something-of-choice.  Try using your gym’s other offerings such as the sauna or steam room.  They have the heat you may be craving, and it’s a great detox as well.  You’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated, and studies have shown that doing so post-workout can have positive cardiovascular effects and faster recovery from muscle fatigue and soreness.

2.  Take your supplements!  The sun nourishes us with Vitamin D, an important component in keeping our mood elevated, immunity intact, and to ward off fatigue.  Some of us suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), most common in the winter months, a condition Vitamin D can help with.  Not having adequate levels of Vitamin D that we’re used to from sunlight alone can take it’s toll so it’s good to catch up where we’re lacking with supplements.  A good Vitamin D supplement with Calcium, Magnesium, and Zinc is good, as is this new formula (shown above), Sunny Mood made by Irwin Naturals.  Maintaining good health keeps you feeling well; getting sick is no fun!

3.  Diet.  Diet.  Diet.  No, I’m not referring to losing weight.  That’s a bi-product.  Diet = the foods you eat.  Your diet should consist of plenty of fruits and veggies, with some healthy protein and whole grains in the mix.  You choose!  As I emphasized above to pick up where we’re lacking with supplements, the foods you choose can be your biggest enemy or your best friend.  I say this because your body can like what you’re putting in it or not–and depending on that is the response you’ll get.  A plant is going to look and feel drab if you pour soda in the soil instead of fresh, clean water and expect it to look lively.  We’re not that different except the fact that our body is a lot more resilient and forgiving than a plants.  Get your nutrients and vitamins as much as you can from the foods you choose to eat, and you’ll look and feel great too, regardless if the sun is out.

4. Keep your social life!  Don’t hibernate (too much)!  Just like we look forward to BBQ’s during the spring and summer, fall and winter can be great for gatherings indoors or cozy venues and restaurants that will happily check your coat so you can enjoy their venue and ambiance.  Laughter is the best medicine, and who better to do that with than your friends, family, and/or significant other?!  Mix it up and don’t forgo the fun for night after night being bundled up indoors.

5.  BUT…sometimes we DO just want to be indoors and bundled up–and that’s OK too.  Some days or nights you just want to listen to the rain tap the roof and nothing sounds more appetizing than a cup of soup and hot cocoa and your favorite movie.  Maintaining balance is important, and if you know you’ve checked all 4 boxes above on the list, by all means these kind of nights are called for!  Why not mix 4 and 5 by inviting your friends over too?!

The winter months can be tough at times, but by making small changes and doing the best we can for ourselves and others around us may make it a little brighter!




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