Finding February’s #winterhigh

I love the roller coaster ride that is our yearly trip around the sun, fully enjoying the rush of each new season, but without fail, somewhere in the middle of February, I start to lose my winter cool. By this point, winter just seems like it’s going to go on forever, the days that I used to refer to as crisp have turned to bitter cold. The evenings that were dark and cozy are just too. darn. long {and still very dark}. Over the years I’ve developed a few tricks for fighting the February blues.

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  • Do an exercise reality check. We all know that regular exercise is a true mood booster – releasing endorphins, improving our immune system, and warming up our cold winter bones. Moving is a regular part of my routine, but somewhere in the dark of winter, my step loses it’s spring; I may not move as much or with as much intensity as usual. To get my exercise mojo back, I shake up my usual routine ~ try out a new walking route with the dog, take my camera and spend some time photographing the stark winter landscape of our local parks or favorite hiking trails, and possibly most important is to get out in the early to middle of the day (see my next point). If I really can’t bear one more walk in the cold, then I hit up my favorite yoga studio for a few extra sessions of hot vinyasa flow.

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  • Find the sunshine! Sunshine exposure helps our bodies to produce serotonin and melatonin, two chemicals in our body that work to regulate our circadian rhythms. So getting some sunshine for even just 10-15 minutes each day may raise our mood and help us to get a better sleep at night!

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  • Eat the rainbow! Just as with my exercise, I may find myself in a food rut, and the best way out is through experimentation. And, just like exercise, there are direct links between our diet and mood. This is the time I turn to my cookbooks for a bit of inspiration, focusing on veggie and protein heavy recipes. I received Jerusalem: A Cookbook this Christmas, and it has just the right sort of full-flavored dishes I’m looking for. Take advantage of those long dark evenings to experiment in the kitchen!

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  • Start a new {colorful} project. As fellow knitters know, February is not a time to start knitting that grey afghan or a black sweater, it’s time to break out the colorful yarn and knit yourself some yellow leg warmers.

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  • Take a vacation!… but not yet. This is the perfect time to plan your next vacation. Research has found that you receive the largest boost in happiness from planning and anticipating, not from the actual vacation or time after you return! Whether it’s a weekend get-a-way or a trip abroad, schedule that vacation now and give yourself something to look forward to!

Of course, sometimes I also curl up with a good book, some hot tea, and ride out the February storm. What are your tricks for keeping the mood light and your heart warm when winter just won’t quit? Share your #winterhigh with us!

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