I never thought I was affected much by Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. I have always said I liked the Great Indoors, and the coziness of spending the winter with a book and a warm drink in hand. I also know I’m not Vitamin D deficient because all of our milk and yogurt is heavily fortified.
Yet this January I have felt the best I’ve ever felt at this time of year, and I think it’s down to two causes: activity level, and being outdoors.
I decided to get back into my fitness routine of workouts 5 days a week starting on January 6. In the 4 full weeks ending Jan 31, I will have worked out at home 16 of the 20 days I planned to (if I fail to work out from Wed to Fri this week you can come to my house and berate me, LOL!) So that makes me feel more industrious and less like my sluggish, chocolate-scarfing holiday self.
I’ve been out shovelling snow 6 times so far, for a total of 3 hours (and Rom put in the same). Another 15 cm is due tomorrow!
I mentioned I bought a hockey helmet because they’re required at the rink now for all ages. I finally got back on the ice this month and got out skating 3 times. I found out that I can do 40 laps of the rink in 40 minutes (10 laps is a mile.) I’ve been attending adults-only skate times with no pesky children to impede my progress, LOL! I have done my time at Family Skates!
As you know, I also vowed to walk to and from work as much as possible. It’s 1.5 km each way, a brisk 15 minute walk. On an average day, I walk 3 km, and on a good day I walk home for lunch as well, making it a 6 km walking day. By the end of the week I will have walked to work on 15 out of 20 work days, for a total of 75 km (46.6 miles). It has already got to the point that if I have to take my car to drive across town to a meeting, I desperately miss the walk.
I’m quite pleased with how much I’ve toughened up over the month. I wanted to keep walking in all weather, and we’ve sure had all weather! The temperatures have ranged from -19 to +8C. We did have two blizzards that were so bad that work was cancelled, so I skipped those! (Normally we only get about one snow day a year). I’ve discovered that at -12, my face is cold, and at -19, my eyeballs are cold 🙂 Of course, I’m very aware that -19 is nothing compared to the temperatures this winter from Ontario to Alberta.
We’ve had weeks of cold temperatures, alternating with weeks of rain, so my outdoor gear and footwear have had a good test! To my surprise, my everyday, non-Arctic jackets are perfectly fine. My new hiking boots are awesome on the ice and warm too. My fleece-lined rubber boots are perfect for cold winter rain. I’ve decided I’ll get new rain gear because my 10-year-old set soaks through over the course of a 15-minute walk, and doesn’t have a proper hood. I also need some serious Arctic-quality mittens.
It’s not just the walking, but the daylight and the fresh air that have really lifted my mood (that I didn’t even know needed lifting). That’s been quite a revelation for me because I had always though that hibernation worked fine for me in January!
Another thing I tried out (without making it a proper goal) was cutting back on sweets, my very serious weakness. I finished off the Christmas candy by Jan 6 and didn’t stock up again after that. Rom and I went cold turkey and didn’t buy ice cream for the month of January either. I decided I would snack on whatever I liked, as long as I wasn’t buying candy and treats. So for the whole month, I ate my fill of raisins, nuts, popcorn and fruit. (Rom and I did share a bag of tortilla chips). And I gained 2 pounds! But I don’t mind because I have made a big dent in my sugar habit and overall, I feel better. I hope to cut back on snacking, rather than just sweets, but that will come in time.
How are you doing on January health resolutions?