10 Tips to Beat the Winter Blahs on the Homestead

10 Tips to Beat the Winter Blahs
As people who generally spend a TON of time outdoors in the summer, the negative temperatures and two feet of snow outside can really tear apart one’s spirit. And even if you’re not buried in snow, you know that the cooler weather can still take its toll and cause a major case of the crankies.

You don’t have a case of the crankies, do you?

If you’re nodding your head- then take some measures to turn yourself around and roll into spring with a skip in your step!


Vitamin D

This is sooo important, not only for mood but also to boost your immune system during germs-everywhere season.

Getting Vitamin D from the sunlight and real food sources is always ideal, but not always possible. Our favorite food sources are from our chicken’s deep orange yolks, liver from pastured animals (okay… so this isn’t my favorite favorite thing to eat…), and canned sardines, salmon and tuna.

Yellow Vitamin D Egg Yoiks, Whole Fed Homestead

The recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D differs depending on what source you reference, and I personally follow the Vitamin D Council’s recommendation of 5,000 IU/day (and then some) in the winter months up here in the north. These are the Vitamin D supplements that I recommend in my practice and use personally: 10,000 IU Vitamin D with K2, and 5,000 IU Vitamin D.


Sunlight

At the beginning of December we literally went two weeks without seeing a lick of the sun. It was cloudy and gloomy and just blah. When the sun finally appeared again it felt just like the first rain after a long draught- where it fills you with joy and relief and you want to dance in it and soak it all up.

I pulled a chair in front of the window and sat in warm sun for about 15 minutes- it was glorious and it recharged me.


During the colder months, soak up all the sun you can, even if it’s too cold to go outside!

And if you find the winter blahs are really zapping your energy or you are craving a lot of sunlight, consider a light therapy Energy Light Lamp– which simulates natural sunlight. It may seem gimmicky, but I personally know quite a few people who use these lights with great success.


Seed Catalogs

Seed companies: they smart. Is it any coincidence that I received two seed catalogs and a tree catalog in the mail, all on the same day, when it was -30 degrees outside?
Well-played seed companies, well-played.

I think I squealed in delight when I pulled them out of the mailbox. Planning the garden, checking out the new offerings for the year, and dreaming of green grass and juicy tomatoes is a great way to lift the spirits.

tomatoes on table

There’s nothing like taking a big ol’ red marker and going circle-crazy in a bunch of seed catalogs. However, if you need instant gratification, these places also have online catalogs!

This should keep you busy; request seed catalogs here:
Annie’s Heirloom Seeds Catalog
Baker’s Creek Heirloom Seeds Catalog

Burpee Seed and Plants Catalog
High Mowing Organic Seeds Catalog
Peaceful Valley Grow Organic Seed Catalog
Penny’s Tomatoes Catalog
Potato Garden Seed Catalog
Raintree Nursery Catalog
Seeds from Italy Heirloom Italian Seeds Catalog
Seeds of Change Organic Seeds Catalog
Seed Saver’s Exchange Seed Catalog
Territorial Seed Company
Vesey’s Organic Seeds Catalog


Spend Time with the Animals

Whether it’s goats, horses, or chickens- pick a decent day, bundle up, load your pockets with treats and spend some extra time with them- it’s a sure fire way to put a smile on your face.

Since it’s turned cold, I’ve seen a lot less of the chickens and ducks. Frankly, I’m outdoors a fraction of the time that I am in the summer. But I miss them and I can tell they miss me too.

Ducks in Snow, Whole Fed Homestead

No matter how cold it is, the chickens still come running to greet me as soon as they see me coming (ahem, it has nothing to do with the pocket full of sunflower seeds), and the ducks announce my presence to the yard the second they spot me. I make it a point to hang around and spend extra time with them throughout the week, and it always brightens my day.


Be Mindful of Your Blood Sugar

You could be de-railing your hormones and mood without even knowing it! If you eat something high in carbs and don’t balance it with some fat and protein, your blood sugar can swing high and low. This puts an enormous amount of stress on your body- which can definitely cause the crankies. Not to mention a whole slew of other health problems.

Have some almond butter with that apple, and pick sweet potato over white potato with your eggs and sausage. Skip the pasta and bread with dinner and go for squash or plantains with your meat and green vegetables. Have a piece of dark chocolate, or make a batch of my Vanilla Bean Truffle-Covered Walnuts.


Reflect on the Positive

I know it’s so easy to get caught up in the negative sometimes. We compare ourselves to others, we long for what we don’t have, we’re bombarded with negative news, Facebook drama, or the problems of others and it’s easy to get caught up in a downward spiral of negativity.

Sit down with a pretty piece of paper and write down ten things that you are thankful for, or that make you feel appreciated. Can’t think of ten? Try harder or enlist the help of a friend.

Put the list in a prominent place- on your fridge, nightstand, taped to the mirror where you brush your teeth, and look at it every day. Read this feel-good list every day for at least a week. It just might be the hand you need to pull you out of your funk.


Bring Life into the House

I always hate when it’s time to take the Christmas tree down because I love the freshness and touch of life that it adds to the house. So if you’re yearning for something living, to see green life that isn’t covered in snow, why not bring something in the house? Get a new house plant or bring in some fresh flowers.

How about something with a dual purpose like this inexpensive aloe plant?


Eat and Drink Cheery Things

Splurge on a head of purple cauliflower or that container of beautiful heirloom tomatoes and some fresh basil. Make something bright and lemony. Pick out a new box of tea (like this Pukka Lemon, Ginger & Manuka Honey), or whip up a batch of Fancy Water.

IMG_1364

This also means eating food that is nourishing. Skip the processed stuff, the white flour and refined sugar- they won’t help you with anything. Focus on lots of veggies, good healthy fats to feed your brain, and high-quality protein.


Learn a New Hobby

Don’t let your mind sit idle. Have you dreamt of making your own bacon and butchering your own hog? Want to learn how to quilt? Winter is the perfect time to gather information and learn something new!

eat all the bacon


Take on a Feel Good Project

The first thing that comes to my mind is organizing the spice cabinet. Or the junk drawer. Or my closet… pick an inside project, something that is long overdue, that you can complete in a few hours time and go for it!

Gut those drawers and reorganize them! It will keep you busy, and you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment. Plus, it will give you joy every time you reach for the garlic.

Use those old ratty t-shirts to make t-shirt yarn, and then turn it into a functional rug! Or take those stained sweaters (you know, the ones you just can’t quite throw away) or your shrunken wool sweaters and transform them into a cute pair of kiddo leggings.

 

Keep your mind busy, nourish your body, and find a way to bring brightness and joy into your life this winter. Don’t let the cold and snow get the best of you!

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Comments

  1. says

    With regards to the Vitamin D3 – do you only supplement with the 10,000 IU plus K2 in the winter? I do the Metagenics D3 – 5000 IU on a daily basis year round as I work indoors in the summer as well, but have never used with the K2. (I do use a dropper version that has D3 – K2 for my kids as they don’t eat many greens or fermented foods.) Not sure if you would suggest just doing the 10,000 IU in the winter and going back to the 5000 IU during the summer???

    And I can’t get enough of seed catalogs in the winter! I can smell the tomato plants when I look at the catalogs!

    • crystal@wholefedhomestead says

      I previously used the D3- 5000IU until I discovered the 10,000 with K2 (which I like a lot better because of the added K2, personally). Because I have had my lab values tested and know about where I stand and what it takes to keep me in an ideal Vitamin D range, I still try to stick with about 5,000IU per day in the winter… so, I take a 10,000IU with K2 every other day so. :) I find I don’t need a supplement in the summer. Hope that helps!

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