Rabbit, rabbit! Happy February 1st! Apparently, saying ‘rabbit rabbit’ at the beginning of every new month brings good luck, so here’s hopin’! Now that February is upon us, I think we can legitimately feel like we are INTO 2016. January sometimes just feels like a Christmas leftover, but once we hit February, we’re really official, definitely getting into it, knee deep into the winter season. Summer seems like ages ago, Fall seems like a distant memory, and Spring is what we are just aching to experience. I have been hearing so many friends mentioning how tired they are, how cranky they are feeling, and how for whatever reason they are feeling restless and anxious. I remember when I lived in Wyoming, and during winter, I experienced bouts of depression, could never stay warm, and had no interest in life outside my bed. It was frustrating because I was not a depressed person, so to feel the symptoms of ‘depression’ was confusing. Growing up in San Diego, I never experienced this until I had moved into a place that had seasons. It wasn’t until someone mentioned Seasonal Affective Disorder that things suddenly started to make sense. ‘SAD’ as it is referred to, is related to changes in season, and usually dissipates once Spring and Summer roll around. If you want the full scoop, check it out here. It is oh so common, especially in grey and dreary Seattle, so if any of this sounds like you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! This is the time of year when we can really start to feel the effects of these short winter days- even though the days have started to get a bit longer, (YIPPEEEEE!!!!!), Old Man Winter is not ready to retire for the season, so here are some ways that I find help me better cope when I am feeling the seasonal blues.

~MAKE GETTING OUT OF BED EASIER~

Sometimes the hardest part about getting out of bed is knowing that there’s really nothing we MUST get out of bed for. On days when I don’t work until late afternoon, it is so luxurious to lounge in bed, dozing in and out of sleep, pressing the snooze button umpteen times. But when I finally do get out of bed, I feel groggy, out of it, and kinda like I wasted all of my ‘me’ time before I head off to work. To counteract the allure of too much quality bed time, tweak little things in your daily life.

-Program your coffee machine to start automatically at a certain time so you’ll want to get up and pour a cup once you smell the aromatic french roast.

-Set an alarm and put it across the room so you have to physically get out of bed to turn it off.

-Make a to-do list the night before of everything you want to get done the next day, with little boxes to check off once each task is completed. It’s very satisfying, I tell you.

-Wake up to a clean home; dishes washed, couch blankets folded, mail sorted neatly…all things that won’t cause dread to see first thing in the morning and make you want to jump back under those covers!

-Leave notes around the house-to yourself- to motivate you towards having a great, productive, well rounded day. Inspiring quotes, famous words, poems, whatever floats your boat…

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I have this question taped to my wall right next to my kitchen, and boy does it get me into shape fast! Whenever I see it, I try to view it as a challenge to my day. What AM I doing to work towards what I want for myself? Choose something that resonates with you and will put a little pep in your step. Try it for a couple days. If your phrase is not hittin’ home, change it! There are no rules.

~GET MOVING~

This is perhaps the most important, so maybe I should have put it first…? Regardless, remember this one: Stay active. Do not allow the winter doldrums to deplete your athletic aspirations. As we all know, exercise is great for our bodies; it gets our blood flowing, the heart pumping, the joints moving, our lungs healthy, but even above all that, it is even BETTER for you mind. Yep, I said better. Imagine all the wonderful effects that being active has on your body, and then multiply that by 100. That is how great it is for your mind and spirit. Exercise reduces stress, releases endorphins (very important for feelings of depression), prevents Alzheimer’s, releases endorphins, alleviates anxiety, releases endorphins, sharpens your memory, gives you more energy…did I say releases endorphins? That is what we are looking for! That ‘feel good’ sensation that you can’t get anywhere other than being physically active. The key is to find what feels best for you…

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-Nothing feels better than puttin’ on those tennys, turning on the Ipod, and running your heart out- even if just for a few blocks. Is it raining out? EMBRACE IT! Put on a ball cap, and allow yourself to get soaking wet. It is absolutely exhilarating. No excuses, no regrets.

-Try hot yoga…Just try it! I LOVE hot yoga for many many many many reasons. But it is especially wonderful during winter, on a frigid day, to walk into a warmmmmm studio, and feel like you just walked into a sauna. It is such a treat! Trying to save your pennies? Try yoga in a steam room! Same effects. Justtttt kiddddding. Kinda 😉

-Take your fur babies to the park! Those little muffins are starting to feel like winter is never going to end as well, so make sure to include them in your search for endorphin releasing activites!

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~MAKE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS A PRIORITY~

It is soooo easy to ‘hibernate’ throughout the winter. We all tend to stay indoors, catch up on our favorite shows, snuggle under a fuzzy blanket on the couch…and that’s absolutely fine. Trust me, I loooove my nights at home. It is also important to make sure we keep in touch with the people whom we love, and who make our worlds a little brighter. Being social creatures, it is pertinent to feed that part of our psyche that thrives on interacting with others, even if just for an hour or so. It can be activities other than drinking…get creative!

-Start a book club with some coworkers, or even one other person. Read a book about a period in history, or a member of the animal kingdom you’ve always been intrigued by; something that will leave you feeling more intelligent than when you started.

-Invite a couple friends over to make ‘vision boards’. Tell each person to bring over some magazines and a bottle of wine. Have fun with it! Hang it next to your new phrase you taped next to your kitchen. Manifest!

-Get out of town for the day with your best girlfriend. Visit a nearby town you’ve never been to, and immerse yourself in what it has to offer. Buy a souvenir at their antique shop on Main Street, drink a beer at their local watering hole, and take silly pictures amongst their awesome scenery. Make some memories!

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~FEED YOUR BODY WELL~

When the wind is howling, the days are short, and we are constantly wearing no less than three layers, a hearty meal always seems to sound just right. Heavy soups, generous entrees, anything that makes us feel warm. Make sure to balance what you are eating. Awwww, you thought I was gonna tell you to switch out those meals to leafy greens and produce, right?! Heck no! Winter was MADE for cheesy casseroles and carb-loading, silly! But make sure some of those meals are comprised of green salads and veggies, and all the things that assist our bodies in operating at their absolute best! Add in lots of spices too; turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, paprika…all of these and so many others have tremendous health benefits, and may chase away those pesky contributors to making us feel ‘blahhhh’. And if you’re feeling extra extra blahhh due to meal choices, try a week without dairy, gluten or meat. Maybe a simple reset will be just was the doctor ordered.

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~DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE~

Last but not least, don’t forget to sit back, relax and feel whatever you are experiencing. If you are blue, be blue. If you are restless, be restless. Sometimes we need to feel these things in order to shift into whatever our next step in life may be. Most importantly, remember: you are human. Go easy on yourself, and let yourself be. Don’t over think, don’t get down on yourself for what is going on in your life, just accept it and keep on moving forward. Know that nothing lasts forever, things change, and thankfully, Spring is RIGHT around the corner! Sometimes, the thing our mind, body and spirit need MOST is a bit of peace and quiet. If you know how to meditate, allow a few minutes a day for yourself. OR! If you are more like moi, an adult coloring book and a glass of wine are the perfect combo to set my mind straight. I’m serious! Adult coloring books are gaining HUGE popularity for a reason… they allow you to come into a meditative state, where you can kinda zone out and allow your mind to go into zen-like state…check it out.

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Alright friends, I truly hope that these little tips and tricks will serve you well, as they have served me well! If you have anything to add, please leave it in the comments section. I would love to hear what works for you! Much much love to you all, and happy almost end of winter beginning of Spring February to youuuuuu!!!!

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