Ward Off Winter Doldrums

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Get Up & Get Out!

With much of the country locked in a polar vortex colder than the inside of a freezer it may seem strange to exalt the virtues of outdoor activities. Even in my area though, where we don’t really deal with the frozen underbelly of winter weather many are bound to struggle with the inactivity of the season. So, in an effort to lift spirits and ward off the winter blahs, I’ve listed a few good reasons to love this season and time outdoors.

1. Enjoy the Morning Light Show:  Unlike the summer months when sunrise occurs long before we raise our heads from our pillows, the winter sunrise waits until the more civilized time of about 7:00 am to make its appearance. With the lack of foliage on the trees and the crisp brilliance of the sky, or snow and ice sparkling in the sunlight it is also the perfect reason to break out the camera for some beautiful shots.

2. Keep Colds and Flues at Arms Length: It’s no coincidence that colds and flues increase during the winter months. After all they love to congregate and flourish in warm places, and, what better place to multiply than indoors with other humans and their germs. Spending a bit of time outdoors each day helps to separate you from the bugs.

3. Banishing the Blahs: Winter’s diminished light and our lower activity levels are the perfect combination to bring on winter blahs. But, you can banish your blue mood with a brisk walk outdoors or leisurely stroll, weather permitting. Staying active in the winter can also increase your vitality and raise your self-esteem, while decreasing tension and depression.

4. Get a Dose of Vitamin D: Our body’s production of vitamin D plummets during sunless winter months when the days are shorter. One Norwegian study found that a fair-skinned person only needs five minutes of sun exposure in July to attain a healthy daily dose of vitamin D, but in January it can take well over an hour of sun worshipping to get he same result.

5.  Burn Calories: Winter activities area great way to burn calories while attending to your mental and physical health. Find an activity you like and make the commitment to doing it a few times a week. Even if it just talking a walk you body and mind will thank you for it.

6.  Stay Hydrated: Snow may be piled to the windowsill, but fierce cold winds can be drying, so drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Your body and your skin will thank you.

No matter what your weather is like in winter you can find a reason and an activity to help chase away the winter blahs, lift your spirits and make your outlook on life a whole lot better. But, remember always dress for the weather to prevent frost bite, hypothermia or a dangerous fall. Wear layers and sturdy boots whenever you venture outdoors. This is a special season full of amazing natural beauty. Take time to enjoy it.


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