Prevent The Winter Blues With These Easy Tips

You may be surprised to hear it, but Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a real condition and it’s not uncommon for people to get the blues during the winter months.  If you feel that happening to you, here are a few simple things you can do to keep your spirits up.

  • Move! – When the temperature outside plummets, it can be all too tempting to just stay under the warm covers, but making yourself get up and move around is key to preventing depression from setting in. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you get up and start moving!
  • Pleasant distractions – When you feel the wintertime blues creeping up on you, one great way to keep them at bay is to consciously plan some fun activity to treat yourself with. It could be anything from reconnecting with a friend you haven’t seen in far too long, to a cup of hot chocolate from your favorite coffee shop, or anything else that will bring a smile to your face.  Just give yourself a little treat as a distraction.
  • Talk it out – A good conversation might not be able to fix all the world’s problems, but sometimes, just the simple act of sitting down and having a great conversation can chase the blues away.
  • It’s a matter of perspective – When the wintertime blues start encroaching, it’s all too easy to focus on what’s going wrong in your life. When you feel negativity beginning to take root, press pause, take a deep breath and flip the script.  Focus on, and take stock of the good things in your life.  It’s amazing what even just a little positive thinking can do!
  • Make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D! When the sun goes away for the winter, the body misses out on this important vitamin that the sun provides. This not only causes depression in some people, but it decreases the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses and infections. There are multiple ways you can get Vitamin D, including vitamins, drinking milk, or eating certain vegetables!

The bottom line is, you don’t have to let the winter weather get you down.  There are things you can do to improve your outlook, disposition, and mood!

Stay Consistent To Meet Your New Year’s Goals

Perhaps the only thing more common than making New Year’s Resolutions is breaking them.  Everyone starts out with good intentions, of course. However, all too often, those sincerely-made resolutions wind up in the dust bin, not many weeks after they’re made.

If you have resolved to get fit and healthy in the new year, here are some helpful tips to help ensure you keep that resolution:

Focus on the Journey, Not the Destination

If your goal is to lose a certain amount of weight and start exercising more, don’t focus too much on your ultimate target.  Instead, break it down into bite-sized chunks, and focus on each of those in turn.  Lose two pounds this week, go to the gym at least twice.  Walk at least a mile today. Set small goals as part of your larger goal.

By focusing on the incremental steps designed to take you to your end goal, you’ll be better able to stay on task, and it will give you the opportunity to celebrate the small victories that will lead you to your ultimate goal.  Remember, getting healthy isn’t a “once and done” thing, but rather a conscious lifestyle change.

Don’t Get Discouraged

For most people, exercise isn’t fun or comfortable.  That’s why they call it a work out, rather than a play out.  It’s probably going to hurt when you start using muscles that you haven’t been using regularly.

The important thing though, is not to let that dissuade you!  If you stay at it, your body will start responding, and over time, it’ll turn into the well-oiled machine you always knew it could be. Try to find an exercise that you find to be enjoyable and exciting!

Don’t Forget Chiropractic Care

Many people only visit their chiropractor when something goes wrong or starts to hurt. Actually, regular visits to your chiropractor and a regular schedule of adjustments can help make your transition to a healthier you easier and less painful than it otherwise would be. So make that part of your New Year’s resolution, too!

Why You Should Avoid Yo-Yo Dieting

Yo-Yo dieting, or weight cycling, is an almost tragically easy habit to get into that can cause you no end of troubles.

Essentially, “Yo-Yo Dieting” is when you bounce from one diet to another, trying to lose weight for a period of a few weeks to a month or two. Then, whether you’re seeing results or not, you fall off the wagon for a time, binge eat and gain weight again before jumping into the next diet for a similar period of time.

As you might expect, this doesn’t lead to consistent weight loss. The problems run much deeper than that.  Here are a few of the other negative effects you’ll see:

  • It makes it harder to lose weight – This is especially true if you put yourself on very restrictive “starvation diets” followed by a period of binge eating. When you’re on an extremely low-calorie diet, your body essentially goes into emergency mode and tries to store as much as it can as fat, which works against your weight loss goals.  Then, when you binge, the excess calories are also stored as fat, giving you that much more weight to ultimately lose.
  • It can cause headaches and fatigue – This is true of not just yo-yo dieting, but any time you present your body with rapid changes. It doesn’t quite know how to react, and so, it rebels, and you wind up paying the toll.
  • It can dampen your sex drive – This by itself should be enough to dissuade most people from yo-yo dieting. A plummeting sex drive can really damage your ego and self-esteem. In addition, sex can be a very fun way to exercise! You don’t want to miss out on having fun while you work out!
  • It fosters bad eating habits – If your eating habits are in an almost constant state of flux, it makes finding a sensible diet and actually sticking with it for an extended period that much more difficult. Some habits are notoriously hard to break!

If you’re interested in losing weight and keeping it off, the best approach is a sensible diet you can stick with in the long term, coupled with a good exercise regimen.  There’s no magic to it, but it does take time and discipline.


Avoiding Injuries When Starting Your New Year’s Resolutions

The start of a new year means, among other things, New Year’s Resolutions. One of the most common resolutions people make is to get in better physical condition in the year ahead.

It’s a great goal, but unfortunately, the burst of enthusiasm can often lead to injury. The most common types of injuries are those born of repetitive use or strain and it’s not uncommon for doctor’s offices and chiropractors to see a sudden influx of patients suffering from bursitis, shin splints, stress fractures and the like. Here are some quick tips to help you minimize your risk of injury as you begin your journey toward better health:

Technique Matters

Sometimes, people get so caught up in the excitement of getting fit that they don’t pay sufficient attention to technique. Proper technique is essential, and can go a long way toward minimizing pain and injury when exercising.

Be mindful of your posture. If you’re using some type of equipment during your exercise routine, be sure you’re using it correctly!

Don’t Overdo It

If you’re new to exercising, then your strength, endurance, and flexibility aren’t what they could be.  It’s important to be mindful of your limitations as you start to exercise, so you don’t overexert yourself. Over-exertion can lead to pulled or strained muscles, or painful sprains.

Also in this category, it’s important that when you expand or increase your workout from one week to the next, you don’t bite off more than you can chew.  Don’t increase your exercise by more than 10% (distance, weight, or time) from one week to the next.

Warm Up and Cool Down

This is something that a lot of people overlook, but both are important!  Before you begin exercising in earnest, be sure to perform a short stretching routine to limber your body up for the exercises ahead.

In a similar vein, once you’ve completed your exercise routine for the day, another short round of stretches before you stop will help minimize your post exercise discomfort.

While following this simple advice won’t allow you to magically avoid exercise-related injuries, it will greatly reduce your risks. In turn, you will increase the chances that you’ll stick with your New Year’s Resolution and start seeing a healthier you!





The Positive Effects Of Smiling More

Want to know a secret? Smiles have powers that border on being magical. It’s true! Here are just a few of the benefits that smiling more will have on your life:

  • Smiles ward off depression – The act of smiling floods your brain with feel-good chemicals while simultaneously lowering your cortisol levels. Cortisol is the “fight or flight” hormone that controls your stress levels, so smiling will destress you in addition to making you feel better.
  • Fake it till you make it – Building on the first tip, your brain can’t tell the difference between a fake smile and a real one, so if you’re feeling down, smile anyway. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling better.
  • Smiles make you more attractive – There have been numerous studies that have proven that people are more at ease around smiling faces than sour ones. They regard people who smile as being more open, honest and attractive, so not only will your interactions with others be more pleasant, but your ego and self-esteem will be boosted as well.
  • You can improve the mood of everyone around you – A recent Swedish study proved that people’s moods echo the moods of those around them. If you’re surrounded by sad, frowning people, then inevitably, sufficient exposure to that will make you sad. If you’re around smiling, happy people, the reverse is true, and inevitably, you’ll find that your mood starts to improve.
  • Smiling lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. In addition to that, the feel-good hormones that get released when you smile also act as natural pain killers.

As you can see, the simple act of smiling has a whole raft of benefits and no downsides at all. There’s no quicker or easier way of elevating not just your mood, but the mood of everyone around you, so say cheese and smile! You’ll be glad you did. Literally.