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No, I’m not recommending that you make your own independent film this Winter. Stay with me here and it will all come to light!

Do you literally find yourself getting “sick and tired” at this time of year, and maybe a little depressed as well? You’re not alone! 78% of the North American population experiences increased fatigue, stress, illness, weight change and depression during the “blues” months of November to April.

Don’t despair! There are simple, easy ways to sail through the season with more JOY, CHEER and EASE!

Lights:

It’s no accident that the Winter holidays involve lights…,,,the Jewish Menorah, Christmas lights and candles, etc. When the days are shorter with less light, seratonin levels go down and depression levels and weight tend to go up. Studies have shown that the “winter blues” or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is caused by less sunlight rather than temperature changes. So what’s the solution? Here are a few.

1.Get as much real daylight as you can. If you work inside and especially under fluorescent lights, take your breaks outside. Take a quick walk outside at lunch. Park a distance from your destination. Even a few minutes of being out in the daylight can make a significant difference.

2.Use full-spectrum lighting in your home and your office. I often recommend that clients replace the fluorescent lights at work with full-spectrum bulbs whenever possible. I used to get migraines almost every year starting in early November. No more! I put daylight halogen lamps in my office, living room and bedroom and….VOILA! No more migraines. The minor cost of keeping the lights a little brighter at night and in the early morning is well worth it. Whatever you do, avoid sitting in a darkened room watching TV or at the computer. Keep the lights on.

Camera (not really):

Think of your mind as a camera, as your own on-going video or movie. Our subconscious and nervous systems do not distinguish between physical reality and our imaginations. So visualize, visualize, VISUALIZE!

1.Take a few minutes each day or throughout the day to close your eyes and see the entire inside of your body full of light, every cell lighting up. Any internal or external images of light will work. See yourself at your favorite beach with sunlight drenching every inch of your body. See yourself playing tennis or any other warm weather activity on a sunny, summer day. You’re the director here. You get to be anywhere you want, doing anything you love. In your mind, fill yourself and your surroundings with light. This is POWERFUL!

2. This part is so important that it gets it’s own number. When you visualize, FEEL! Feel all the physical sensations and emotions that you would if you were really in the place or situation you are imagining….the warmth, the movement, the freedom, the contentment, the deLIGHT! Using all our physical senses and emotions creates a much more powerful physiological and psychological response to mental images.

Action (really):

Even without the “blues”, our bodies and metabolisms tend to slow down in the winter months. It’s only natural. And, of course, there’s all that Holiday eating! You know that you’re going to over-indulge at this time of year. You always do (and you’re in good company – the rest of us!)

1.Be pre-emptive. Start increasing your activity now, before the major eating begins.

Add 5 minutes to your treadmill time or any workout time. If you’re not exercising, start!

Do some side and back leg lifts while you’re standing at the stove or waiting for the microwave. (I do this compulsively now, and my thighs and behind are very grateful.)

When you come home, go up and then down and then up the stairs again…with the groceries or shopping bags.

When Holiday shopping, park at the far end of the parking lot (like you have a choice!) You’ll get more exercise and daylight.

Take a walk with the family or friends after that big holiday meal or party.

“When you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you DANCE.”

2.Whatever you do, don’t compound the over-indulging with beating yourself up

about it. If you’re like the rest of us, you are likely to gain a few pounds over the winter. Big deal! EnJOY yourself, and just do what you can, when you can.

A quick note about that upcoming New Year’s resolution to lose the holiday weight:

Winter is by far the worst time of year to try to lose weight. It goes counter to your body’s natural rhythms and tendencies. (Think hibernation!) Rather than setting yourself up for failure, do what you can to avoid the weight gain to begin with. Staying active before and during the Winter will set up your mind and metabolism to lose the weight more easily when Spring rolls around.

Keep your mind and thoughts LIGHT! EnJOY! Be of good CHEER, and when you want to bust the winter blues, remember…………

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!

Copyright 2006 Ahna Cleveland

Ahna Cleveland -