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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter is here!

The snow has been intermittently coming down since yesterday, we have about four or five inches so far.
Learning to coexist peacefully with the cold weather has been a journey for me. I'm not cold tolerant at all and I tend to struggle with depression during the shorter days.
I've discovered a few tricks to keep warm (and sane) this season so far. I, by no stretch, have it all figured out- these are just some thing that I've learned (experimentally and from other people) that helps me get through this time of the year.
  • Layering my clothing.
    • I wear so many layers, I look immensely chubby. The extra warmth, I've found, is far worth it. I've found that jeans are not as comfortable because I can't comfortably wear leggings under them, so I have been wearing gouchos over tights, leggings, knee-high socks and boots. Fashion forward? Not at all. Comfy? Very.
  • Drinking tea.
    • I have been drinking tons and tons of tea. Particularly green chai tea. It has a lot of warming herbs that are fantastic for this time of year. Some good warming herbs are ginger, cinnimon, cloves and nutmeg. Garlic and cayyene and chili peppers are also very warming, although most people would use those in their food, not necessarily in a tea. For a while, I wasn't drinking that much tea because I was using raw honey to sweeten it, which gets very expensive. I started using a cooked honey in my tea and am reserving my raw honey to use on my food. My raw honey lasts so much longer now :].
  • Sleeeeep.
    • This is something that I have not yet mastered, but observed. When I don't get enough sleep- I am tired, depressed, apathetic and just a mess. When I get a good 4-8 hours of sleep, I am feeling great and in a great state of mind. For some reason, I have been having a hard time sleeping through the night in the last year. I have been been making a little bit of progress with getting more sleep, but I'm not up to a full 5-8 hours yet.
  • Not overeating.
    • It's easy for me to overeat to compensate for the lack of warmth in my environment. But, at the end of the day, it just makes me feel weighted down. A week or two ago, I was eating cooked sweet potatos for warmth- but it honestly did nothing to make me feel more warm and it didn't agree with my body. I might try some cooked soup (Vegan and grain-free) at some point this winter, just for fun. I just have to be careful not to over-do it. I was doing this crazy awesome thing of not eating after 5pm. I felt great doing it and it was awesome, and then I got really stressed out over some stuff and gave in to eating at night. I still am eating at night, and I don't think it's realistic to change that before the holidays. So, after Christmas, I'm going to start fasting after 5 o'clock again.
  • Listen to upbeat music
    • It's easy to listen to sad, depressing music when it's dark and gloomy outside. But I've discovered, even though I appreciate the artistic quality of the music, that it really does nothing for me. It doesn't even matter so much what the words are, it's generally the general undertone of the song. Listening to an upbeat piece of music can turn my entire day around sometimes.
  • Getting off my ass
    • I'm discovering more and more that a simple cure for being cold is *moving*, even though I usually have to motivate myself to do so. It's a good thing I have a dog that likes to go on long walks- he really keeps me from being stationary.
  • Stress management
    • Life is stressful. Everyone has a unique set of challenges and problems that they have to face. I'm certainly no exception. I've taken up journaling anything that weighs on my mind, and it makes a world of difference. Also, my drawings and poetry are a wonderful stress-management tool for me. I highly recommend anyone with stress in their lives (Uh, everyone) to experiment with an art form.
Random: In my shiatsu class, we were learning about yin and yang. The white side is yang, which is the brighter, active, masculine side of the symbol. The black side is the darker, introverted, feminine side of the symbol. Everything is partly yin, partly yang. This symbol is also used to symbolize darkness and light. Usually, there is either a delicate balance or a colossal dominance. Here in western Pennsylvania, spring and autumn are fairly balanced yin/yang seasons, while summer and winter tend to be dominanted by one or the other to some extent. I would love to delve into Chinese philosophy more, it's so interesting.

I'm going to have to go, I've got stuff to do around the house.

-Bethany

Saturday, December 19, 2009