Monday, January 19, 2015

banishing the winter blues

it's 2:15pm. the boys are home from school in honor of mlk day. they are curled up watching a movie.

we left the house at 8:30am to meet friends at a park. the kids played while my girlfriend and i walked laps. we were outside moving our bodies for two hours on this gorgeous day, wearing only hoodies/light fleece. over and over i turned my face toward the sun and said thank you for such a lovely winter day.

after lunch the boys and i rode our bicycles to the walking track near our house. they FINALLY got a chance to play with their christmas gifts! their new bikes have hand brakes and gears, an adjustment from the basic pedal bike. no surprise, they did great.

all that to say i feel very blessed to live where we have frequent breaks from the typical cold, dreary winter weather. most days, even if cold, are sunny and, in denver, you just cannot help but get outdoors to soak up some of those warm rays.

but even with sunshine and fresh air it's easy to get rundown in winter.

my facebook feed has been littered with shared links; friends posting articles about how to combat the "holiday hangover" and the "winter depression". just today i read two separate blogs that addressed recognizing and curing a "funk". most of them give the same tips - exercise, sleep, get outside, etc.

back in early autumn of last year when i first started going to marriage counseling my therapist told me i needed better self-care. he prescribed the tried and true exercise, sleep, get outside but also added think positive thoughts and spend time with uplifting girlfriends. i began doing those things (which i'd neglected for far too long) and it began to help.

so i was as surprised as anyone when i found myself lapsing back into a mild depression at the end of march 2014. my therapist sent me to our family physician to have some blood drawn and labs done.

the diagnosis?

basically, it had just been a long winter.

my body was very deficient in vitamins d & b.
the doctor wrote me a prescription for an extreme dose of vitamin d. he also gave me vitamin b shots.

now i help manage my mood by taking vitamins every day, with every meal.

vitamin d - 3x/day
fish oil - 3x/day
calcium - 2x/day
vitamin b - 1x/day

(every brand of vitamin/supplement is a different dosage so i take the amount of each that was suggested specifically for me by my physician.)

even with vitamin therapy i'd be lying if i said i wasn't concerned about this winter. i didn't want a repeat of last year. those "out of sorts" feelings - exhaustion, crankiness, a case of the blahs - none of it is fun. not for me or my family. thankfully, so far this winter, i've felt great! i have been careful to take my vitamins, get fresh air, exercise, plenty of sleep, eat healthily (although i totally binged on gluten-free cookies last week!!), and my negative thinking has been more under control. this seems to be the magic combination for my body at this time. 

if you are struggling with the winter blues i'd challenge you to make an appointment with your doctor to see if you might be low in vitamins/nutrients. especially if you are doing well with the other self-care suggestions and still feel sluggish. all things considered, vitamin therapy is a simple, inexpensive way to feel happier and more energetic.

i sure need every ounce of energy to keep up with my two active boys!!

movie's over...time to head back outside and make the most of this beautiful weather!

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