Does winter make you sleepy all day? You’re not alone. Many people feel more lethargic in winter and there’s good reason for it. Here are six ways to manage the winter months and beat the malaise
• DAYS ARE SHORTER – It gets dark a lot earlier. Since daylight hours are reduced as days get shorter, we are exposed to less sunlight which deprives us of some of the natural nutrients needed to be balanced and healthy.
The Solution: Use daylight-balanced light bulbs in lamps to help regulate the frequencies and/or add Vitamin D3 supplements to your diet. More rest also helps boost the natural self-balancing, self-healing functions of the body.
• INCREASED INDOOR TIME – Facing cold or inclement weather forces many of us to spend extended time indoors which can lead to less physical movement and more sedentary activities.
Plus we’re getting less fresh air which can deeply affect both body and mind. In fact, it’s not unusual to experience serious winter blues from excessive stagnant periods in heated environments.
The Solution: Stay active. Exercise daily. Get outside in the middle of the day for a refreshing walk. Dress for the weather and go for it. Instead of planning get-togethers with friends around the fireplace, arrange for outings that are invigorating – hiking, skiing, ice skating or even building a snowman. If appropriate, you may consider getting a dog which will necessitate outdoor walks multiple times a day!
• FAMILY HOLIDAY TIME – During the holiday season, we spend extended time with relatives which can trigger acute ranges of emotions and exhaustion.
Holiday dinners often bring together family members who may exhibit old annoying patterns of behaviors, insecurities, confrontations and conflicts leading to intensified emotional upheavals. Everyone gets a bit fragile and stressed-out during the holidays and all the “together” time can sap your energies.
The Solution: Be mindful and set aside differences. Try practicing the art of unconditional love. Accept and forgive. Let go of old grievances and be understanding. The dynamics in many families cause members to hold onto anger and irritations for years and years but, when asked, cannot even remember what caused the emotional rift.
If others get upset or distressed when something goes awry, chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression. Forget the past for now and be present in the moment. Stay in your personal power center.
Try using an affirmation such as “I’m full of love and light. I rest in calm acceptance.”
• REGULAR CHORES & TASKS DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON – Everyday responsibilities and tasks may already be creating stress, so holiday time delivers a super whammy of additional obligations that can be the final blow to any chance for calmness.
With awareness, you can expand time and find joy. Even while being pummeled by wave after wave of media hype that heightens your desire to do it all, my advice is: STOP!
The Solution: Slow down and set aside time for yourself to refresh; take a walk, meditate, read a book. Even just spending 15 minutes alone, taking some slow deep breaths, without any distractions can clear your mind.
Plan ahead by allocating time in advance to visit friends, shop, etc. Be clear about what you can do and what you just don’t want to do. It’s better to say “NO” than accept a million invitations and end up exhausted and heading for the emergency room.
Be selective and choose what serves you the best. If you’re full of energy and feeling good, you will spread better goodwill than if you’re overextended and agitated! You’ll be a better spouse, parent, sibling, or friend. Honor yourself first and be realistic. Let go of perfectionism. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change.
Choose a few to hold on to and be open to creating new ones. For example, if you can’t be part of a get-together, find new ways to celebrate such as sharing pictures, emails, videotapes or using “Skype” to interact “live” through the internet (the next best thing to being there).
• THE RIGHT FOODS – Dreary wintry days tend to activate cravings for comfort and sweet foods which deliver high carbs and ultimately store fat. These are not desirable fuel for the body as they spike blood sugar levels which contribute to sluggishness and increased hankerings for more sugary-types of treats.
The Solution: Hearty nutrient-dense foods would be better choices to stay energized throughout the day. Consider a combination of lean meats, wild salmon, leafy greens, nuts and fresh produce. Staying hydrated is also critical so drink lots of water or unsweetened beverages.
• SLEEP ROUTINES – During the seemingly long months of winter, sleep often gets compromised, especially with all the holiday partying. Sleep deprivation not only affects your energy levels but can make you nervous, irritable and dysfunctional. It’s also been shown to contribute to Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and cancers.
The Solution: The obvious answer is to get enough shut eye. It’s best to get to bed at the same time nightly and have a wind-down period of quieting, calming activities before bedtime.
But on days when you know you’re not getting adequate sleep, be mindful. Do less. Prioritize and defer what you can to another day. Also take restorative breaks throughout the day.
Follow these guides and avoid that Winter feeling of being sleepy all day.
Access my free audio at 3MinutestoDestress.com. By taking a brief mental pause, you will refresh your mind and body. It will help you think more clearly, feel more energized, function more effectively and ultimately reduce the sleepiness!
Peggy Sealfon is a personal development coach and author of the best-selling book Escape from Anxiety—Supercharge Your Life with Powerful Strategies from A to Z. Check out her two WatchFit Plans: Stress Buster Plan or Yoga: Body-Mind Builder.
Connect here with WatchFit Expert Peggy Sealfon