The cold, winter slump

At this time of the year…there is less sunshine bringing on gray skies and bare-naked trees.  Nature looks naked in general.  Most outdoor enthusiasts and athletes are in off-season (except for those cold-natured freaks).   At times, the air is simply too cold to bear unless you work your body to produce enough heat in order to enjoy the cold, winter breeze as a cool down.  The sun sets so early it causes many to hibernate and bypass anything fun after 6pm.   So, I like to call this time of the year, the “season of blues.” 

This may look so dreary, but this is my
favorite spot on our family farm.  Running through this
wilderness is surprisingly beautiful and peaceful
(except when the wolves start howling!).
It’s not uncommon to experience days of “blah” when our bodies lack Vitamin D from Dr. Sunshine.   The thought of getting up early (because running after work in the dark is too late – it’s bedtime) to run in 30-degress or below, is not at all motivating or appealing.  Embracing the wind-chill to bike with frozen limbs and freeze our facial expressions with frosty snot and tears definitely doesn’t feel worth the fight.  Or, maybe we’re unconsciously finding ourselves in a slump after a wave a high.  Kind of like post-partum depression, post-Ironman depression, post-wedding blues, seasonal depression…you get the idea.  What do all these milestones have in common?  The build up in preparation, training, emotions, with a climax at an all-time high and…POOF, the height of excitement ends suddenly – similar to the bottom of the roller coaster ride.  The anticipation, the exhilaration is over in seconds so now what?

What is the key ingredient to happiness and remain hanging onto the cliff?  How about health?  Do you often find yourself constantly evaluating numbers throughout life?  I find that happiness doesn’t come in numbers.  It’s not about the numerical value in pounds.  No one sees those numbers over our heads.  It’s not about the green numbers we have stashed away in our pockets.  Money certainly does not buy happiness if you don't have the privilege of enjoying the luxuries or material things in life because of the consequences of poor health.  Maybe all those dollars are being spent on resolving your health.  I suspect happiness isn’t superficial.  It’s not about external beauty.  To some, we may be beautiful and to another we are not attractive (blame that on personality maybe?).  Models, actors, beauty queens may have the natural “look” or it appears they have it all, but do they?

Let’s face reality.  While many factors affect our happiness or our “feel good” scale, health truly plays a vital role in our psychological well-being.   Even reputable sources and scientific research says so!  Our internal components drive our overall well-being.   This girl will admit that the consequences of health, lack of faith and belief can control happiness far too often.   When I neglect the things that drive my inner-being I find myself getting into a slump, a pit, a hole and then I’m seeking strategies to climb out.   As we become less active each day and get a little more comfortable with the sedentary lifestyle that’s sneaking into the lives of many Americans, our bodies decondition.   Decondition as in decreased muscle mass, higher blood pressure, achy joints bearing the weight of the consequences from poor nutrition and lack of physical activity.  We have higher expectations of technology to take over our bodily movements and we depend on this fast-paced society to make our lives more efficient.   As our deconditioned bodies take over our minds, our personalities, our health depreciates in value.   Our moods take a change for the worse and the glass seems half empty.

Are you a new mom, an athlete in off-season, a student (or someone) buried in stress…then maybe it’s time to try something new or simply create your own support group:

Tips from Tiff:
·      New moms, have you heard of Stroller Strides?  I have a friend who was a part of this group and thought it was a clever way to gather a social group together for a morning stroll/jog with your kids (or even your pets!).
·      Try something new.  I recently picked up trail running and it’s even more enjoyable with some friends.
·      Seek new adventures.  Maybe we need to get out of the monotony or routine of our typical workouts…think outside the box.  For instance, I found enjoyment and peace running through the wilderness of our family farm back home.  Or, explore some new trails to walk/hike.  Just because you go out of town doesn’t mean you have to put your usual workouts on hold.
·      Afraid of running at night after work, get a group together and put on some headlamps (or carry your flashlights) and feel like a kid again. 
·      Save up for some new shoes.  New shoes or anytime we spend money on fitness, it often motivates us to move. 
I was excited to have my first pair of trail shoes...
now this should keep tumble-free (for the most part)! 
·      Join or start a challenge.  It can be a 30-day core or plank challenge, a 100-day push-up challenge, etc.  Make it more fun and challenge your spouse, significant other, roommate, family.  Starting a group encourages one another to complete the daily challenge. 
·      Disabled.  Don’t stop!  There are plenty of ways to be active beyond your disability.  Check out local sporting events for children/adults with disabilities or simply start your own active club.  Anything is possible!

Embrace the wind chill, your fear, the darkness and start climbing your way out of the slump…get active.

Quote of the day:  It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.  ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Bible verse of the day:  “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  ~ Hebrews 4:16


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