With daylight savings time comes shorter days, colder temperatures, and darker mornings.

Winter can be a challenging time for many people. How do you feel as the days get shorter and colder? Do you gain weight or slack on your work out routine? What is your script about winter that you tell yourself and others?

If you honestly answer these questions, you will begin to see a pattern of behavior that may keep you stuck in a negative winter experience. Let’s start with some reality testing, which is to say, recognizing that you have the power to FLIP YOUR SCRIPT about winter. There is no problem with modifying your routine because of the change in weather, but it does not have to be depressing or limiting. How you experience the colder months is totally up to you.

If you are debilitated in the winter months in a way that seriously impacts the quality of your life, you may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Winter depression, as it is also called, is biochemical in nature, brought on by the lack of sunshine.

According to the Mayo Clinic, winter-onset SAD symptoms include:
Depression
Hopelessness
Anxiety
Loss of energy
Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
Social withdrawal
Oversleeping
Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
Appetite changes, especially craving foods high in carbohydrates
Weight gain
Difficulty concentrating

The Vitamin D Link

Numerous studies indicate that people suffering from seasonal affective disorder tend to have a Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is not found in vast quantities in food. Mainly, our bodies produce vitamin D from the sun’s rays hitting our skin. So, when there’s not as much sun and you’re indoors more, there’s less Vitamin D being produced. A simple blood test can determine your vitamin D level. If you do have a deficiency, a daily Vitamin D supplement is recommended and is inexpensive and can be purchased at most grocery stores and pharmacies. There are also specially designed lamps whose rays mimic sunlight to help with the body’s Vitamin D production. Studies have proven that sitting in front of these lamps for as little as 30 minutes a day can also affect brain chemicals linked to mood, thereby easing SAD symptoms. As with any medical condition, consult with your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and discuss treatment options.

Get Your All Weather Glow On

Once Seasonal Affective Disorder is ruled out or remedied, you can focus on actions and attitudes within your control. Decide how you want to feel and make choices in line with that goal.

Some ways to stay inspired this season include:

1. Exercise
Commit to at least 30 minutes of exercise everyday. If you live in an area with harsh winters, exercising outdoors may require extra planning or not be an option. Try a Yoga DVD and turn your living room into your own mini studio. Lots of DVDs, YouTube videos, and magazines offer at-home workouts that require little or no equipment. Dancing around to inspiring music is free, easy, fun, and not to mention can burn some serious calories! Find what you enjoy and you’re more likely to stick to it. Exercise gets your endorphins (feel good hormones) flowing, which is one of the best cures for the winter blues.

2. Meditation
Every summer sunset, day at the beach, and lazy outdoor afternoon is a visualization away. Since you have internalized all of these experiences, a dedicated meditation practice can help you consciously access them. Create a sacred space in your home that reminds you of all of the summer experiences you love and get your butt on the pillow for a few minutes a day. You may be amazed at how this lifts your mood.

3. Intention
You are the same person in July as in November. You can actively choose to FLIP YOUR SCRIPT about the winter months and create a joyful and inspired fall/winter season this year. The past need not dictate your future. The power of your intention is mind blowing. So set your intention on creating and maintaining your GLOW from the inside out and see what magic your new attitude brings.

If you have struggled during the winter months in the past, remember now is not then. On autopilot, your mind and body can slip into familiar patterns of behavior that have not served you but you have the power to choose. Practice extreme self- care this season and enjoy feeling and looking good all year round!

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  1. Hi Sarah!
    Loved all of your ideas for being present in winter! I firmly agree with embracing what IS as well. My pal Josselyne would say doing anything else is simply “Living in non reality.” Thank you for your input!
    Love Love Love
    Terri

  2. I also find juicing one orange (makes about a third/half a glass of juice) each day perks me up no end, and makes me feel more awake. Good for when it starts to get dark early. Also introducing as much bold colour into your vision as possible – whether that’s watching a doc about tropical reefs, adding colour to your workplace or flipping though brightly coloured photography/art books 🙂
    Oh, and if you have snow – embrace it! make snow angels, get a sledge (or tea tray), throw snowballs, frollick.

  3. Personally I’m not a fan of winter so I can smile quietly reading your post since we are coming into summer down under in New Zealand. Only thing I like in winter is sitting beside a roaring fire. Your creative visualization tip is a good one.

    1. Thanks Jon and yes lucky you!
      I must admit that my favorite activity in winter is also hanging out by a roaring fire 😉

      I hope when winter DOES roll around you will visualize your way into a sunny disposition!
      love love love
      terri

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