Kick those winter blues to the snowy curb.

weather

I am writing this from snowy Edmonton, Alberta Canada where temperatures are well below freezing and we have piles of snow. The weather changed in the last week first getting unseasonably mild and dumping piles of snow on us and then we were blessed with a cold snap. My mood retaliated by putting me into hibernation mode. I spent whole days in my fuzzy blue robe, curled up with my fleece blanket watching movies. I kept the blinds closed to keep out the light and sipped coffee and baileys as if it was the magical cure for winter. I started preparing for hibernation around Thanksgiving (second week of October in Canada) by stuffing carbs into me till I had packed on some solid weight and I felt fatigued enough to sleep for months. With very few hours of daylight it seemed like the natural choice!

Unfortunately my kids were not loving he idea of winter hibernation. They have got shit to do and places to be and apparently I am their appointed chauffer. I am honestly tired of feeling tired and I miss those carefree days of summer. I miss the sun on my face, long days, bbqs, beachy music, flip flops, pretty colored cocktails with umbrellas in them and unmistakable song of the ice cream truck.

I am sitting here thinking about the best things about summer, trying to pinpoint what I miss the most and how I can use that to combat this “blue” feeling!


I miss sunshine
We are lucky to still get a fair bit of sunshine but when it is cold out it is harder and harder to get opportunities to be outside. As humans we make 90% of our vitamin D naturally by sunlight exposure to the skin.Humans spend less time in the sun today than at any point in human history ‚Äď which is why more than 1 billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient. While vitamin D supplements are an alternative when sunlight exposure is not available it is not natures intended way of producing the vitamin. I read recently that taking your vitamin D supplements with red wine makes them more soluble and the vitamin is better absorbed by the body. There was no scientific evidence to back up this theory but it is certainly worth a try ūüėČ

Back yard BBqs and flip flops
I BBQ all year around. Last week I cleaned off two feet of snow from the BBq and grilled up some rally tasty rib eye steaks. The problem was putting my boots on and taking them off became tedious. Oh how I miss flip flops.

I paired the steak with a nice green salad and some grilled asparagus. The combination felt almost tropical! Cutting back on the junk food and processed foods in favor of lean meats and fruits and vegetables can help stabilize your mood and winter weight. Make small changes to your diet and you will notice your mood and energy level soar. Remember the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids found naturally in fatty fish. There’s a neurotransmitter called serotonin in your body, and when you eat fatty fish, or take a high-quality fish oil supplement, your serotonin levels go up, which leads to your mood going up. Win win!!

The Sounds of Summer
Sometimes Nostalgia can stimulate the brain and compensate for what is missing. I often feel like that when listening to Summer songs. I am quite honestly not ready for Christmas music so I made my own summer mix. Sometimes I close my eyes and listen to a song that takes me back to a time when the windows are rolled down and my sunglasses are on, my hair blowing in the hot summer breeze…..

Activity
I imagine this is a hard one for everyone. We all know the benefits of daily exercise to our health and well being but in the cold weather we often opt to pass on our regular activities in favor a warm house, a TV and our PJs. Adding a little bit of daily activity can certainly boost your mood. For those of you who love to sled, ski, snowshoe….wonderful for you. My favorite winter activity is coming back indoors, closing the blinds and pretending it is not winter outside, maybe put on a Zac Brown CD and have a hoola hoop contest with my girls.

Pretty Feet
Remember walking around in sandals with pretty red toenails? There is very little motivation for pretty feet in the winter because barely anyone sees them and the bottoms of your feet get rough and winter worn. There is not a more perfect time to get a pedicure. Guaranteed to lift your mood. Go to a nice place, add a massage (sometimes they will serve you wine) RELAX…pretend you are on a beach!!

GET OUT/See People
One of the biggest differences between summer and winter is the amount of socializing we do. As the malls are filling up with Christmas shoppers take advantage of winter specials at museums and art galleries. Explore your city (or town) the way you always intended. Meet a friend for brunch, go to a matinee. To heck with Book Clubs,throw an unforgettable “SUMMER GET TOGETHER” in the winter. Have your guests dress summery, bring a tropical dish and serve summer inspired cocktails. CHEERS!!

Its hard to make big changes in the winter when the days are short and our energy is low. One little change here and there will leave you feeling happier and more energetic, therefore apt to follow through with more changes.

Have a happy winter and check out my summer inspired mix below. I am off to my tepid bath where I have Hawaiian leis hung over the shower curtain and the sweet sound of Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville playing on my Samsung Smart Phone. I even hid my salt shaker, therefore it’s lost (and there is a woman to blame!). I am going in topless because somehow I know that after too many Margaritas and a day of sunshine that is how I would end up!!

Tell me how you cope with winter!

Unbreakable Chapter 12-Beautiful Day

The weeks leading up to Homecoming were as exhilarating as they frenzied. It was impossible to not get caught up in the enthusiasm and school spirit. The Cheer Squad had designed the most incredible Float that Lincoln had ever seen. It was a Hollywood Themed Float complete with a Red Carpet, cameras, plenty of lights and best of all the Football Team in tuxes and the Cheerleaders in their formal gowns.The excitement and general sense of camaraderie surrounding the Homecoming events was infectious. Even Brad and Johnny had worked together to make giant Academy Awards figurines for the float.

Lincoln demolished the winless Jackson Jags 34-3 to ensure that their homecoming game would be played on their own field against neighboring rivals Lisbon Leopards.

The excitement was so overwhelming that when Natalie recalled it in years to come it would be hard to focus on anything else but that euphoric on top of the world feeling that you get when you are having a great day and you are certain that it is only going to get better. It was a fantastic day to be a Football player, a Cheerleader and a resident of the small town of Lincoln.

Lincoln handled their business under the Friday night lights defeating Lisbon with a final score of 31-29,  narrowly edging out the Lisbon Leopards with a 30 yard touchdown with 7 seconds on the clock in the 4th quarter, winning the game to a cheering hometown crowd.

Lincoln¬†played their kind of offensive game with relative ease.¬†Brad was not overly efficient on the ground, but Johnny¬†had a bit of a “throw-back” game. He caught Lisbon a bit off-guard. He scrambled for his first rushing touchdown of the season on a read-option run. He ended up leading the team in rushing with 64 yards.

More importantly was the effective passing game. Although the wide receivers did not come together as they hoped, Johnny was able to make plays in the passing game, showing excellent touch.

The final score did not really reflect the Lincolns defensive effort. Brad had a great catch and run with both starting safeties out of the game. Lisbon added a couple of late touchdowns but this game was all Lincoln and the hometown crowd was wild. Lincoln made stops as needed, but claim they were never really threatened.

The reward of course was the final score and an exciting hometown win.

Long after the crowd filtered out and the moon began to take its place in the darkening sky, Natalie found Johnny before he left the field. He had already shaken a plenty of hands and rumour had it that there were some College scouts in the stands keeping a close eye on him during the game. He had played impeccably and the smile on his face spoke more than words ever could.

“Can I have an autograph?” Natalie asked jokingly as she approached. Johnny scooped her off her feet and held her in the air above his head. Apparently the excitement had not faded. He let her down slowly, her body sliding down the length of his before her feet touched the ground.

“Congrats,” she said, embracing him. “That was exciting!”

“That felt great!” he exclaimed,¬† squeezing her ” Sorry I am a sweaty mess”

“Are you kidding” she joked playfully,¬† “after that performance they are selling Johnny Miller sweat on Ebay!”

He laughed and flashed her his heart stopping smile “Don’t worry it will always be free for you!”

“I feel so special,¬† she claimed, rubbing the back of her palm across her forehead¬† and feigning a swoon.

“It’s been a great week. Wow.” he shook his head in disbelief.

“I am dying to tell you something that is going to be the icing on this sweet cake” she began.

He looked down at her in her pretty cheer leader uniform, her bouncy ponytail moving excitably as she spoke. He imagined her saying she had broken up with Brad and several scenarios filled his teenage brain. He wanted to pick her up again, swing her in the air, then hold onto her forever. They would walk off the field hand in hand and she would proudly wear his jacket around her shoulders. He would bend to kiss her before they went to their prospective locker rooms and when he looked back she would still be smiling at him and he would still feel the heat of her lips on his.

“Did you hear a word I said? Natalie asked, playfully punching him in the arm.

“I’m sorry. You have great news.”

“Focus Johnny. The man with Blanche tonight is an old friend from high school, he is the head couch at¬† Alabama State. He couldn’t take his eyes off you. Can you change and¬†meet us at the diner?”

Johnny looked like he was going to faint, “Alabama Crimson Tide is the top ranked University football team in the U.S.”

Natalie roller her eyes “Uh huh. Now go get changed”

Johnny made his way to the shower through a sea¬†of high fives¬†but even as the steaming water fell over him it couldn’t wash away the feel of her against him. He was nerved up about meeting the coach from Alabama. His coach had told him to expect some calls in the next couple of days from college scouts, apparently it was becoming more common for them to scout the smaller areas for hungry talent and Coach Jones had offered to help prepare him. Tonight he would be thrown into an impromptu meeting with a Coach he would never have dreamt of meeting and he couldn’t think clearly because thoughts of Natalie crowded into every spare inch of his brain.

The very smell of her intoxicated him. If asked to describe it he could only think of happiness. She smelled of sunshine, the soaring mountains, ocean waves hitting the rocks, a crackling fire, cloudless skies and lullabies, and her eyes, as green as fresh mowed grass and always so wondrous. Being with her gave him the same comforting feeling one would get when waking up and realizing it was the weekend and being able to close your eyes and sink into the soft warmth of your bed but at the same time his heart beat faster than a child during playground skip rope. He was nervous and conflicted but more excited than he had been about anything in a long time.

She looked up when he walked into the diner. It was for a brief second before she looked down again, desperately trying to conceal what her eyes were saying.

”¬†The windows to the soul, always a certain giveaway to what the heart is speaking to the mind”, Blanche would often say.