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Beat the Winter Blues and Prepare for Spring

Will winter ever end? Of course it will. But until the spring thaw, there are some ways to make the rest of winter more manageable.

Making the last few weeks of winter better is best done by taking it one step at a time.

First, make sure that you are trying to eat healthy foods. Studies show that after the holiday season, most people try to cut back on sweets, carbs, saturated fats etc.

It can be the desire to lose weight or maybe trying to stick to a New Year’s resolution that gets the health kick started. But by February, good intentions for healthy eating seem to lack energy.

Get re-energized and get back to eating more vegetables and fruits this week.

Also start drinking more water and hydrate your body during this long winter. You might be surprised to see how much more energy you have along with a more positive attitude. Eating the right foods can lift your spirits.

Now that you have more energy, start moving more. Take the stairs at work, park a little further away from the door when shopping, or think about joining a gym or starting a home fitness program.

There are great tips at www.letsmove.gov and at www.americaonthemove.org to motivate the entire family. Some say that exercise is the most under used, free anti-depressant. Start moving and feel better today!

This winter has been unusual due to the extreme cold weather but the pre-spring season can also give us cold but sunny days.

Try embracing the last days of winter and make time to get outside. Build a snowman, igloo, or snow fort with your children. It can be bring back memories of your own childhood days.

The physical activity will be so much better for you than sitting on the couch and the added sunshine will improve your mood as well.

Since winter days seem to reduce social interactions, plan your own chili cook-off with friends and family. Making time for a fun evening of good food, maybe a potluck dinner with a group of friends and a night of board games.

Spending time with others can be a fun way to beat the winter blues.

Try to avoid falling into the trap of binge drinking during this time of year. It is easy to say that there is nothing to do and just reach of another beer or finish that bottle of wine.

Drinking 5 or more alcoholic beverages during one sitting is considered binge drinking. Remember, alcohol is a depressant and instead of waking up energized, it is more common to struggle with a hangover, depression, and feling more tired after a night of drinking. Not a good way to beat the blues.

Exercise your brain during the darker days of winter with board games, puzzles or start planning for a spring or summer project. Think about putting in a vegetable or flower garden.

Even if you don’t have a big yard, you can plant a window garden with pots of herbs or small tomato plants. Check with your local library for books on planting the type of garden that is right for you.

Finally, take time to relax and try to get a little more rest at night. If you are the type of person who always says yes to every request, try saying no to the added activity or stress.

In order to beat the winter blues, it is important to refresh your mind, body and spirit. Getting more sleep at night, having some quiet time for yourself, or even slowing down your daily routine can have added health benefits.

Today, think ahead to the warmer days of spring but do something positive and healthy for yourself. Eat right, get moving, and focus on making each day count!

By Melinda Kaplin