5 Tips for Surviving Winter

Happy first Saturday of 2017, friends! It seems like most of the country is experiencing colder than normal temperatures, and might have even gotten a bit more snow than is typical. Three cheers for winter!

Winter and I have a love/hate relationships. On the hate side, there’s the cold weather, the cold wind, the cold snow, the cold ice. You can’t escape it; winter is cold, cold, and more cold. On the other hand, winter is so cozy! Its pace is slower than the frenetic go-go-go of summer, and it encourages us all toward our hermit-like tendencies. Even though I’m an extrovert through and through, I don’t hate that aspect of this colder and darker season. I love snuggling in to watch a movie, making homemade pizza, and going to bed early. I love enjoying my coffee by the fire the next morning, and I love having an excuse to stay home and cancel plans occasionally (hello, snow days!).

If you’re having a hard time finding the joy in winter, here are 5 tips just for you!

Start an outdoor winter hobby. Fresh air is good for your health, for your mood, and for your body, so get outside! Even when it’s cold, bundle yourself up and breathe some fresh air for a minute or two. Our favorite winter activity is snowshoeing (Bob has Tubbs snowshoes and loves them), but you could try skiing (downhill or cross country), ice skating, or plain old hiking. With warm enough clothing, you’ll barely notice the biting wind and cold temperatures.

Sun lamp and essential oils. Maybe a little hippy dippy for some of you, but I swear by my sun lamp and (more recently) diffusing oils. Might it all be in my head? Yes. Do they make me feel better, happier, and more content with being indoors so much? Yes. Final verdict: worth it. I have this sun lamp and this diffuser, and they’ve both been great.

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Vitamin D drops. If you live where the sun rarely shines in the winter, I can’t say enough great things about these Vitamin D drops. They work better for me than a vitamin pill, and I can tell a noticeable difference in my mood when I forget my drops in the morning.

Light a candle. There’s something delightful about lighting a candle–its soft, warm glow, the lovely scent wafting through your house. Something about a candle whispers cozy, cozy, cozy and it does wonders to lift my mood.

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Find some community. Nothing makes the winter seem long and lonely like trapping yourself at home for 3 or 4 months. Even though it feels like a lot more work in the wintertime, find people to spend time with-go to church, invite friends for dinner, talk someone into joining you for your newfound outdoor pursuits. It will always be worth it!

What do you do to make the winter more manageable? I’d love to hear!

If you’re interested…a January trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes and an easy, comfort food idea for a dinner next week.

Saturday Small Talk

The busy season at work is quickly coming to an end. I’ll be sad to see the people go, but have to admit I’m eager to return to “normal life.” Whatever that means.

Darcy posts a lot of paleo friendly recipes that are really tasty! Can eating paleo improve your waist line? Stone Soup presents some research for those who might consider paleo for weight loss.

Can’t get enough bundt cake in your life? Try this berry buttermilk bundt!

Nachos aren’t just for dinner. They’re breakfast food, too!

Here’s a great workout I’m going to try. Starting next week.

Happy weekending, everyone!

Whip those habits into shape

Healthy habits are hard to form. And not-so-healthy habits just sneak up on you, unannounced. All rude like. As such, I sometimes have to look over the habits I have and figure out why they’re there (or not there), and how to fix it.

Last month, my goal to whittle my middle was a major fail. Regular ab work is a habit that I’d like to develop, and it wasn’t going well. After a couple of minutes pondering the problem, I attributed it to the fact that I didn’t have a way to track my progress.

This month, I’ve altered my course. I’m a bit Type A, and so charts are my go-to solution for just about everything. They fill my soul with joy. It’s the (sad) truth of the matter. So, I made a chart!

If you have a habit that you’d like to form, use some creativity and figure out what will help you stay motivated. Crossing days off on a calendar? Stickers? An app on your phone? A journal? Whatever you choose, make it tactile and put it somewhere that you’ll see it regularly.

And then there’s a bad habit that I’ve unintentionally slid into: mindless munching. I’ve figured out that most of this occurs while I’m doing something else: talking on the phone, browsing the interwebs, reading, watching TV, etc.

So here’s the new game plan: with the exception of one snack in the evenings that is portioned in advance (i.e. no open bags of chips or Tupperware containers of granola), all of my food will be consumed while sitting at the table. Not while sitting on the couch. Not while standing by the kitchen counter. Or while walking out the door to my car. At the table.

Without a bit of thought and a plan, our lives can get taken over by habits that we want to get rid of and habits that we wish we had. Don’t give in!

I wanna know: What’s a good habit that you have formed recently? Any that you wish you could get rid of?