So, I cried last night. For about 900 reasons most likely, but I am hypothesizing that about 890 of them were predominately due to the significant lack of Vitamin D in my life as I know it. Winter is the absolute worst, if we just want to cut to the chase. As one of my gal pals put it today, “The only joy I feel is when I am asleep.” Which, is obviously pretty bleak. There are days where I feel like I’m going through a painful breakup. Then I remind myself that I am….with the sun. And yes, we will get back together eventually. But for now, I’m just letting it hurt, okay?
It’s funny to joke about this (to a point – cuz, ya know, Seasonal Affective Disorder, merp… ) because we all experience it. These feelings can be exacerbated dramatically or stifled entirely, depending on what phase of our extended quarter life crises we are in. So, good luck predicting that one. I’ve tried many a remedy to attempt and soothe the teenage-like angst that brews in my restless mind from November to March, but sometimes the only thing I can do is give in to the urge to wallow. But, when we’re done with the wallowing…then what?
Here are some ideas…
Moving your bod will get your blood pumpin’, and will help produce endorphins which are like all- natural little happy drugs. Endorphins relieve stress, anxiety, pain, and can even produce a bit of a high. So, step 1. Get the hell out of bed. Step 2. Go for a walk around your neighborhood (put pants on, first though, k?), grab a coffee, snack, go shopping, clean your apartment, or go to the gym. Sitting around and being a wompasaurus just adds to the feeling of lethargy, loneliness, and restlessness. Oh, and the more you veg on the couch, the more you’ll snack. We all know how that story ends… #summerbodiesaremadeinthewinter (so I’m told, anyway).
As hard as it is to not drown our icy sorrows in a bottle of wine every night, at least try to balance it out with many bottles of water. Our skin, hair, and nails take an aggressive, and rather unpleasant beating in the winter. They get dry, gross, and I know I look approximately 10 years older when I don’t have my summer glow going. As diabetics, we need to be especially careful, as we are prone to drier skin (and if you’re like me, eczema! #Sexy). The age-old myth is to shoot for about 8 cups per day, or 1.9L, but I try to go for like…12. Cranking the H2O will not only give you more energy to get through the dark days, but your skin will thank you, too. Try this nifty calculator to see how much you should be drinking if you’re working out. Pro tip: Keep water bottles with you at all times: one on your desk, in your car, on your bedside table, in your gym bag, etc.
Get some D.
Vitamin D, get inside me. I’m lost without you. The sun is my everything, so when it barely even gets up above the Empire State Building for more than 10 minutes a day, I feel myself dragging some serious ass. Why do we need Vitamin D so badly? This lovely little guy is one of our body’s favorite sources of energy, can lower the risk for cancer, bone disease, diabetes (Type 2), anxiety, and depression just to name a few. We typically get Vitamin D from sources like the sun, fish, egg yolks, and mushrooms (wuuut?), so obviously in the winter when we hunker down indoors and our diets take a hit, we struggle to get enough D. So what can we do about this? Supplements are a great option, but if you’re anti-that, try to up the fatty fish in your diet, even canned tuna counts! What should you not do? Go tanning. STAY AWAY FROM THE TANNING BOOTH, SNOOKS. This was something I used to do mid-winter when I couldn’t take it anymore, and let me tell you, my skin has suffered the consequences big time! This leads me to my next point…
Back to that whole hydration thing, and your skin getting totally f’ed over from the cold and wind… invest in some hard core moisturizer that makes your epidermis jump for joy. This list is super helpful to kickstart your research, since everyone’s skin is a lil’ differente. I am partial to Kiehl’s, as bougie as that sounds. And since, obviously, vanity is an important thing year round, try a tinted moisturizer (Laura Mercier & Dior make gooooood shit), or Jergens self-tanner (Hi, Maddy) to make yourself feel a little bit more… well…alive.
Get Shit Done.
Last winter, I decided to spend my January jail time (that’s how it felt) getting this blog up and running, and kicking off a long awaited job search. If you’ve been putting something off, winter is absolutely a great time to get a jumpstart on it. What the heck else are you doing with your time anyway? Hm? Netflix? Thought so. Not only does having a project give us a creative, or intellectual outlet, it gives us something to look forward to when we come home from work when it’s already been dark for 5 hours.
Shack up with someone.
Not just anyone, but, you know, a significant someone. Even though you might not feel your sexiest when you’re wearing 14 layers and you’re the same color as the marshmallows in your hot chocolate, getting jiggy with it with your man snack or lady friend can seriously boost your mood. There are only about 950 bazillion articles out there confirming this, I don’t need to direct you to them, plus, that could be NSFW. But, touching and being touched also creates endorphines, just like exercise, sooooo looks to me like sex might just be the perfect cure to the winter woes. Play it safe out there, though, k?
Hit the road.
Having something to look forward to is a GREAT way to fry some time. For example, my girlfriends and I decided to up and take off to Vegas for a long weekend at the end of January. Why? Because #yolo. Financial stress can be crippling for us twenty somethings, and tends to compound in the winter when we’re hyperfocused on our misery, but if we’re smart about planning, a responsible getaway somewhere groovy can be finagled in no time.
Use your pipes.
Living in NYC, I don’t exactly have ample time alone in the car, or by myself, ever, for that matter. But, one thing I know for sure is that singing at the top of my lungs ALWAYS makes me feel better. Not only because I get to pretend I’m Ellie Goulding in the shower, but because SCIENCE. Singing increases oxygenation to the blood stream which has all kinds of epic health benefits. So, if you get 10 minutes to yourself, jam on a quick tune, and I almost guarantee it’ll cheer you up.
Don’t be a booze bag.
This is a challenge in the winter because red wine is my BFFFL. But, with an already lacking resource for uppers in our environment when it’s only light out for 34 minutes a day, alcohol is not on our side. Alcohol is a depressant. So, if we’re boozing heavily, or bingeing on big nights out, it’s only going to bring us down MORE. Which like, eew, please God no. Also, beetus people, alcohol royally f’s with our blood sugars. I get really aggressive hangover lows if I’m not careful. Hangovers + lows = crazy unhealthy choices, which really doesn’t help my cause at all.
I’m not one to enjoy being by myself all that often. I’m very particular about the fine line between being “lonely” and “alone”. BUT, one thing that I am working on in 2015 is mediation! I have a crazy mind that is very….well, let’s just say I go rogue often. Yoga, acupuncture, and other holistic forms of stress and anxiety management can be mucho dolares. BUT, mediation is free. And, all it requires is a few minutes a day of…sitting. Sitting and doing nothing. Sounds pretty SWEET to me.
That’s my list and I’m stickin’ to it. It’s definitely not easy getting through these long, cold, months, but just know that we’re all in it together. Before we know it, we’ll be complaining about re-installing our AC units…