AS THE JOYS and excitement of Christmas and New Year’s pass by, in rolls January, a long and notoriously cold month. Add in the extraordinary darkness of winter in Alaska and you have a recipe for the mid-winter blues. Cheer up! We’re gaining daylight already and soon summer will be here in all her glory. Until then here are 6 ways to help smooth over the winter blues and perhaps even avoid them. These ideas are for kids and parents alike. Well, I guess just about anybody who needs a gentle boost through this time of the year.
1. Sleep on It Get plenty of rest. Adults need a MINIMUM of 8 hours but try for 9—you’ll feel great. Kids should be getting between 10-12 hours a night. Don’t turn on the TV at night, either—it makes for bad sleep. Instead read a book, do some stretches and relax into sleep.
2. Drink It Drink up your water. How much?? Eight 8-ounce glasses is the suggested amount. For kids, the suggested amount is 5-8 glasses a day. Why drink water? Well being dehydrated can leave you cranky, feeling tired and give you a headache. Hard to feel good when you feel bad.
3. Laugh Yeah this one is hard, when someone says laugh it makes it really hard to, right? But grab a joke book from the library and have your kids read it to you while you’re cooking dinner and you’ll all be laughing soon enough. We have a family wrestling night in our house. We push back the chairs and such and wrestle each other. We always end up laughing at the end. Make life fun, even if you don’t want to, your kids will appreciate it.
4. GET OUT Even if it’s cold out, bundle up and get out there. You need to change up your surroundings and breathe fresh air every day. Got a dog? Grab the leash and off you go. If it’s too slick, put on some ice walkers. If it’s too windy, throw on a windbreaker. Your body will thank you for this.
5. Game Time We thrive on games. We play something every night in the winter. Games help us laugh, seek revenge on an annoying brother, teach us to take turns and, most of all, spend good quality time together.
6. EAT Eat right or as well as you can. Make sure your meals include lots of fruits and vegetables, as many as a miserable winter in Alaska will provide anyway. Mix it up, try new recipes, make family favorites, get your kids involved and their grandparents. Host small dinner parties or potlucks for fun and diversity. Make sure to take a multivitamin OR other supplements your body needs.
If you feel the blues sneaking up on you, go back through the checklist. Already checked everything off the list and you're not feeling any better? You’re not the only one feeling SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder); let the experts help. Don’t spend another miserable cranky winter in Alaska; make it great!