Embrace Healthy Living: Overcoming Seasonal Affective Disorder

I am very excited about an upcoming opportunity to present at the Kanab Women’s Forum on March 16th.  Me and my friend Carla will be speaking on embracing healthy living through positive life changes.  Click on the link for more information and to attend the conference.  Michael McLean is the keynote speaker at the event and I cannot wait to meet him and hear him speak.

Since I have been asked to present on embracing healthy living I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can be a better advocate and live a healthy and balanced life.  It has been freezing this winter in Utah and from what I’ve been following on the news it has been colder than normal all over the United States.

This time of year can be incredibly depressing and more than ever I think several people are suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Between the freezing temperatures and the inversion in Utah I’ve found I have to work a little bit harder to stay positive, happy, motivated and healthy.  Being stuck indoors, not seeing the sun or sky for days in a row, and trying to breathe with the inversion can become overwhelming, frustrating, and honestly kind of miserable!
Here are 10 things I’ve found beneficial in helping me wane off seasonal affective disorder and embrace healthy living.

1.  Healthy eating.  I am absolutely no perfectionist when it comes to nutrition and definitely believe in balance in all things.  But what I do know is that when I eat better I feel better.  Eating too much junk just makes me feel like a big piece of junk and leads to sadness.  I’ve been making a conscious effort to eat extra fruits, vegetables and high-quality protein.

2.  Smile.  Never underestimate the power of a smile.  How many times have you been having a terrible day and someone simply smiles at you and it completely turns it around?  Smiling is truly contagious and such a simple way to beat the blues!

3.  Plan indoor activities.  I have been trying really hard to plan at least one or two fun indoor activity each week.  Last week I took my nephew to a movie and this week my entire family went to the circus.  There are fun things to do indoors but sometimes it just takes a little more planning, research, and creativity. 

4.  Weekend Getaways.  Last weekend I was able to drive three hours south and pace the St. George Half Marathon.  It was a quick trip and the weather was in the 50’s!  48 hours in the sunshine was just what I needed and I came back reinvigorated, happy, and with a new sense of motivation.

5.  Exercise.  One of the best way to stay motivated during the winter months is signing up for a race.  I signed up for the IMS Arizona Marathon clear back in July and knowing I have this race coming up has really helped keep me on track.  Starting each day with a run makes facing the cold so much easier for some reason.

6.  Shopping.  Yes I am addicted to shopping and seeing a clearance rack with an extra 40% off coupon is incredibly euphoric to me.  Almost as great as crossing a finish line at a race…almost!  It might not be shopping for you, but re-explore a favorite hobby that you have been neglecting.  Not that I ever neglect shopping but you get my point right?

7.  Random acts of kindness.  It is simply amazing to me how great it makes me feel to help and appreciate others.  I’ve made it a personal goal to write at least two Thank you cards a week to friends and family and doing this has brought me so much joy.  It just feels so good to focus on others instead of myself.

8.  Spend less time alone.  I live alone and during the winter it is easy to get stuck in a rut of vegging out in front of the TV at night.  As fun as this sounds it is a major trigger of depression for me so I have tried to surround myself with others.  I love living alone but being with people makes me happy! 

9.  Planning vacations.  I have a couple of upcoming vacations planned for 2013 and having these to look forward to and plan has really helped my mood.  Having something fun to look forward to no matter what it is has really helped me stay focused and happy!

10.  Fuzzy socks, hot chocolate, snuggles, and fleece pants!  It really is the simple things like wearing fuzzy socks under my boots to work and snuggling up with my nephew that help me keep me sane when the weather outside is insane!

Any tips you would add to my list?

I think the bottom line is that it all comes down to attitude.  Our minds truly are powerful tools and if we stay positive and focus on the good rather than the bad we will all survive this chaos together right? 🙂  Have a great weekend everyone!