Just when I’m warming up to my winter, spring comes along and I’m NOT complaining! As a Caribbean lady, consistently warm temperatures were my norm, with the only seasons being literally “rain/no rain”! Living in beautiful Melbourne has been a joy, it is said that we experience all four seasons in a day!!! My moods, energy levels, and immune system responded accordingly! Simply put, I grossly underestimated the effect that the constantly changing weather would have on my body. Here are some of the things I learned about myself and the things I did to cope with my first full winter in Melbourne.
1. Staying happy/upbeat vs feeling gloomy – I quickly realized how my moods changed with the weather. Some days looked clear and sunny outside but I was quickly disappointed as I walked through the door and a cold windy blast of air greeted me. Most days however, were grey and cloudy, these were the hardest! In terms of studying, I would do so early in the morning, keeping my blinds closed so that I won’t be affected by what I see outside. I woke up happy and motivated to get work done and I preserved that for as long as possible. Hot lemon water and warming teas (cinnamon, ginger, licorice, anise seed blends) were my winter jam. I also opted for hot healthy foods and spices vs cold foods, and I ate smaller portions. This kept my metabolism and energy levels high throughout the day. Playing upbeat music and dancing every chance I got also kept my spirits high, along with lots of mental strengthening exercises and positive affirmations- ” Outside is much better than it looks. You are strong. You can do this!”
2. Keeping warm – at first I was cold and miserable but I realized that every time I ran, walked or exercised, I felt a lot more comfortable, wore fewer layers, used less heating and I felt much happier and energetic. While it can be difficult to motivate yourself to stay active in winter, the saying that “summer bodies are built in winter” holds true – so envision that summer body when you’re all cozied up in bed. Think about how much better you’ll feel after just a short exercise sequence.
3. Eating healthy vs eating “comfort food” – it is common to want warm, traditionally unhealthy “comfort foods” during Winter, to compensate for the low days. I quickly created my own list of healthy comfort foods – pumpkin and sweet potato soups, vegan avocado dip and gluten-free crackers, a spiced tomato and quinoa blend that I loveeee, stewed lentil peas, hot salad – these became my best friends! I wrote down my feelings/triggers and redirected my unhealthy cravings to these healthy options. I ensured the healthy options were always in the pantry so that I easily curbed my feelings towards my “go-to” healthy comfort foods.
4. Staying away from the flu/common cold – my immune system was in a constant defense mode throughout the winter, once the temperature dropped in autumn and the advertisements for the flu shot prevailed, I had to be extra diligent about taking my vitamins daily. I took Echinacea and vitamin C consistently, drank lemon water, along with 2L of cinnamon and ginger water daily, and if I did feel a slight sore throat coming on, I kept myself isolated, made tomato, garlic and onion soup, took lots of rest until I was ready to face the world strong again (usually a day later)!
The irony of it all is, now that Spring is bringing with it slightly warmer temperatures, and I begin to feel uncomfortably balmy, I look forward to the days when the cool temperatures will grace our presence again.
What tips and tricks have you used during your winter experiences? Would love to hear them!