Beating Those Winter Blues

I love the Fall in Michigan.

I love the way the leaves go from boring green to bright and beautiful reds, oranges and yellows. I love it when I can start to see my breath outside and I have to wrap one of my grandma’s homemade scarves around my neck. And I am absolutely obsessed with apple cider and donuts at the Cider Mill.

But as I sit here at 5:00 PM on a Monday and look out on a street that is pitch black, cold and dreary, I can’t help but feel the pangs of seasonal depression start to sink in. I don’t want to leave my house. I don’t want to leave my bed. I just want to sit, eat and watch TV.

It’s awful. And it explains why I always gain five pounds every winter. It also explains why there is a large and permanent butt print in my couch cushion. And why the guys at the Thai delivery place up the street know my name already.

So, this year I am trying everything I can to avoid my winter blues. In my quest not to retire to the couch (with a giant bag of Dark M&Ms) this winter I have been doing some research and have found some surefire ways to stay happy this winter:

Bring on the Light: One reason people get a little down in the dumps in the winter is because there is less sunlight during the day. Doctors agree that the best way to lift your sagging spirits is to simply get some more light: open the curtains as soon as you wake up, go for a walk, etc. Even a short amount of natural light (even on a cloudy day!) will put some pep in your step naturally.

Hit the Gym: One of the hardest things for me to do in the winter is get to the gym. Why go out in the cold to work out when I can cover my fat with oversized sweaters and sweatpants? Well, it turns out that getting exercise is one of the best ways to feel better on a dreary winter day. Those endorphins will get your body pumping and feeling great for hours to come. Bonus: a good workout will also warm you up!

Eat Well: We all know what sugar can do to your skin, but it can also wreak havoc on your spirit. It is natural to gravitate towards sweet foods and comfort foods when you are feeling like crap, but those foods are only gonna make you feel worse. Instead, try incorporating more whole grains, fruits and water into your diet; this will keep your energy up and your blood sugar stable.

Go Out!: Ugh. Going out on a cold winter night; I don’t think there is anything less appealing. That being said, sitting at home alone watching re-runs of America’s Next Top Model isn’t too glamorous, either. Getting out on the town with your girls is necessary to keep you out of that winter rut. So, no matter how painful, drag your ass off that couch and interact with the world.

Hopefully this winter will be a little happier than year’s past. And a little less fattening as well.

Happy Food!
Happy Food!
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