A few weeks ago we asked if any of you suffer from the winter blues, and 55 percent agreed that, yes, the lack of daylight and effects of spending less time outside leave you feeling subpar. (You can find the full poll results below.) Even if you feel OK mentally and emotionally when it's dark and cold out — I love brisk, snowy days — it can be challenging to stay healthy physically this time of year. There are fewer whole foods in season (though you can help yourself out by drying and canning harvest surplus during your primary garden season), and it can be challenging to get outside and get moving as much as you might like.
To stay physically fit and happy this time of year I practice yoga more often. It can be done indoors and doesn't require a lot of space. Old-school calisthenics can be fun too (not to mention reminiscent of elementary school gym class). If it's not bitterly cold and the sidewalks are reasonably clear, I'll bundle up to trek the neighborhood hills, but those indoor exercises really help when venturing out of doors defies common sense.
Food-wise, my freezer is loaded with veggies and fruit so they don't disappear from the table during the off-season. Protein and fats always seem most appealing in winter, so I make a point to buy organic meat and dairy and enjoy every delicious bite. I also include a daily vitamin D supplement, as the February sun in Kansas isn't sufficient for optimal D levels.
Somewhere deep in this Kansas heart lives a tidily bundled Eskimo who's never more at home than when the mercury drops into the 30s and lower, so my spirits don't need much bolstering this time of year — all that snow, gorgeous frost, and invigorating (sometimes bracing) winter winds. It makes my spirit glad. But everyone likes their comforts, and I've found that stocking a full cupboard and a variety of teas and keeping a stack of books on hand gives me the peace of mind that no matter what Old Man Winter brings, I can burrow in my home and when the storm clears, it will all come out just fine.
How do you stay physically healthy and keep your spirits lifted during the winter months?