Winter Blahs, Begone

1 Dec

The dark days are upon us. Leaving work at 6 pm and driving home in the dark is the pits. For me, it’s not the cold that gives me the winter blahs, it’s the short days and lack of sun. Put me in Montana with three feet of snow and clear blue skies, and I’m good. Too bad I live in grey and dark Oh-io.

There are certain tricks I’ve learned over the years to help make it to March.

1. Get blonder.

I know this may seem vain, but bear with me. I’m not a fan of extreme ways to enhance appearance. For myself, I’d consider it a waste of money to use Botox or get plastic surgery. I was brought up to believe that you stuck with what God gave you and made the best of it, end of story. Anyway, I barely have enough time to blow-dry my hair in the morning and would be embarrassed to spend hours and ridiculous amounts of money drastically changing the way I look. But in moderation there are certain enhancements that I can buy into.

Physical beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. And good looks, whatever dose of them we each get, don’t always stand the test of time. So why not celebrate the things that make us uniquely beautiful, in our own ways? This is my rationalization, plus the fact that it’s winter and something has to get cranked up a notch.

If there can’t be sun, then by God there will be blonde.

My favorite way to do this involves periodic use of a $15 product from the Target hair care aisle: John Frieda’s Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Controlled Lightening Spray. One bottle lasts me an entire year and keeps my dark blonde hair from getting sad and dishwatery in the winter. It’s basically straight-up hydrogen peroxide jacked up with some chamomile and lemon for organic-y marketing purposes. Now that I have glimpses of silver along with the blonde, the bottle does double duty. Money well spent for an extra dose of feel-good.

2. Go to bed and wake up earlier.

I try to align my active times with the light. My natural tendency is to stay up late. I’m much more of a night than morning person by nature. But I am lucky to have a husband who gets up on his own at 4:30 am. Too bad we don’t have cows. He wakes me up at 6 am, when the sun is getting ready to rise. I’m fairly out of it when I first get up, but I sit in our east-facing sunroom/greenhouse and drink coffee to get myself jump-started.

3. If unable to visit tropical climes, go to hot yoga.

Hot yoga is a type of yoga practice done in rooms heated up to 95-100 degrees. It is also called Bikram, after the man who invented it. The workout is vigorous because of the heat and the vinyasa style of movement, which basically connects all of the poses together and incorporates various series of poses that require you to work your core and move aerobically. You also integrate balancing, push-up-like moves, and overall strengthening.

The technical term for the way you move through these poses and combine them into series is called ashtanga yoga. It has been practiced for centuries, and in combination with the heat you get an incredible workout that releases toxins and puts you in la-la land at the end. You finish by laying on the ground, so you can kind of drift off if you don’t want to meditate like you’re supposed to be doing.

I can’t stand to do this when it’s warm because the heat is too intense for me then, but yoga all meet my needs in the cold months. My favorite studio here in Columbus is V Power Yoga.

4. Go outside even if you have to put on ski pants and end up looking like the Michelin Man.

Staying inside and sitting around combine to make me a grumpier and unhappier person in the winter. I have come to enjoy outdoor sports like skiing and hiking in the snow. Returning back home or the lodge and sitting in front of the fireplace is much more satisfying after brisk outdoor exercise. I wish we reliably had more snow here…I’ve had my eye on some snowshoes but can’t justify the expense if I can only use them a few times per year.

So there you have it, more free advice. Going into winter #44, I guess it’s about time I learn to live with it!

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