Tuesday, July 17, 2012

top 10 ways to beat the winter blues

Here in the southern hemisphere we're just about half way through winter! Woo hoo. I know for some of you, me included, getting through winter is tough.

One of the mums at school was telling me how winter is getting her down and her favorite time of the day was after school when she lit their open fire "That makes me happy,"she said. I can relate to that. Nothing beats the glow and warmth of an open fire to lift your spirit.

Go on get happy with these ideas:

1.Take a winter getaway Sure a month on a beach in Thailand might be ideal but if budget doesn't allow that, do anything you can to get a change of scene for even a couple of nights. And it doesn't even have to be in a hot climate. Spend a weekend in the country or on the coast at a house with an openfire. Getting away, changing the routine is a great way to recharge. The photo of the stunning ocean beach was taken by my friend Mette last week when she was enjoying a mid winter break with her family at Cape Shanck.

2.Dry skin brushing This is one of the simplest ways to do something food for you. Buy yourself a dry skin brush made from a natural fibre not synthetic and before you step into the shower use the brush to slough off all those dead skin cells. The results are instant - smooth skin and an energised feeling. 

3. Declutter Why wait til Spring for a spring clean? We spend so much time inside on cold and rainy days makes more sense to me to clear out those cupboards and shelves now and then when that sunshine shows up again you can head outside knowing you're all sorted.

4.Dose up on Vitamin D since our exposure to the sun is reduced during to summer to protect our skin from skin cancer and reduced during winter as a result of less daylight hours, Vitamin D deficiency is common and affects mood and bone density. Salmon, tuna, eggs, cheese are all good food sources of vitamin D but they may not be enough. Talk to your health practitioner if you think you'd benefit from a supplement.

5.Move your body get those happy chemicals (endorphins) pumping by moving your body. Getting outside in the cold weather may not be that appealing but it is excuse or reason to become a couch potato. Go to an indoor swim centre, go to a class - yoga, dance, circuit, use an exercise DVD. This one also fits with my 'prevention is better than cure' theory, that is don't wait until Spring to exercise it will be time to wear bathers sooner than you think the time is now!

6. Have a massage the healing power of massage is well recognised in countries such as India and China where it is an integral part of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, it is not seen as a mere luxurious indulgence. A good massage can balance the energy systems in your body, your nervous system and bring a deep sense of peace and relaxation. Having a massage doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Give yourself a head and face massage or a foot massage or do an exchange with a friend or someone in your family.

7. Soak in a hot spring If you are lucky enough to live near a hot mineral spring like we are make use of it. It will warm you to the core and leave you feeling relaxed and renewed. Remember to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. And if a hot spring isn't near by try a steam room or sauna.

8. Eat well This applies year round of course but during winter the best foods to eat to keep you happy and healthy are those rich in zinc, vitamin C and the B vitamins. Porridge is a great way to start the day as it is a slow release complex carbohydrate so it won't have your sugar levels rising and crashing. Enjoy some oysters to boost your zinc levels. Citrus fruits are in season for a reason! Good fats (avocado, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, nut butter) and lean protein (tuna, salmon, kangaroo, eggs) are nourishing and satisfying. Resist overloading on 'comfort' foods made with flour and sugars as they will add to your winter 'coat' and send your mood up and down. Bone soups are the best source of nourishment and comfort.

9. Learn to knit Learning a new skill is good for keeping our brains happy and there's nothing cuter than a homemade knit for children. Your local library is a great place to find books on learning to knit.

10. Embrace the season This is a case of if you can't beat it enjoy it. In just over six weeks it will be Spring time so enjoy the things that say Winter - walking in the rain, jumping in puddles, have a bonfire, going to the snow, slow cooking.

We're almost there!

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