What Joan Crawford and I have in Common . . .

>> Friday, December 3, 2010

I'm in such a funk today. I'm tired. My head is pounding. My stomach feels, well, blah. My skin is itchy and weird. I'm grouchier than the grouchiest Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. I can't quite pin it down, but I think a lot of it has to do with my diet and sleep schedule. Exercise, too, has been off week. The weather? Suddenly freezing and icky. I could go on . . .

(All of this despite my awesome progress with running!)

I tend to do that. Fluctuate between healthy habits and less healthy ones. Eating well and eating horribly. Being optimistic and then pessimistic. Etc. I think everyone goes through this almost bi-polar phenomenon to an extent. For me -- it's somewhat remarkable how one day I can be enthusiastic about eating steamed broccoli and brown rice. The next? Nothing will satisfy my cravings but pizza and chocolate.

This time of year, in particular, is difficult. We're dealing with less sunlight. Colder temperatures. Overcommitment in our work and personal lives. Stress g.a.l.o.r.e. So, it's no wonder I'm feeling this way. And the cause of it all matters little. That stuff is here to stay.

What does matter is what I'm going to do about it.

#1: Drink H2O -- it's a cure-all.

When all that seems to calm my nerves is a cold mug of beer at the end of the day, I'm going to resist the trap. Hydration is so important as it gets colder outside. We're in heating cars and buildings all day. Sucking the moisture out of our bodies. Headaches are often a symptom of dehydration . . . and a healthy body is a hydrated one. So, to ward off sickness and agony, I'm going to sip water and herbal tea like it's my job.

#2: Exercise, but only moderately so.

Now's not the time to go insane with aqua jogging, running, or any other physical activity. In fact, that can only drain me more sometimes. What I've always traditionally done in the winter months is scale back my training. Vary it, too. Sometimes a good hour-long walk after work is all I need to return home smiling. On days when I have more time (and when the sun is out!), I like to head outdoors for my runs. Soak in as much vitamin D as possible. Even if it isn't sunny, being outside does wonders for my mood.

#3: Schedule sleep. Miss TV if I have to.

We're both much more couch-bound these days. This means we're also more likely to get sucked into mindless hours of TV. (Embarrassing, but I know we're not alone in this!) I'm putting my foot, er, remote down! There's no reason I need to beg my tired brain for another hour of 16 and Pregnant when all I really want to do is dive into bed. The dysfunction will play out on MTV again tomorrow, I'm sure. Plus, that's what On Demand programming is for!

#4: Prioritize and then prioritize again.

Seems like everyone -- friend or not -- is hosting get-togethers, going to holiday programs, planning shopping outings, etc., etc., etc. (Does this sound like your life, too?) There's so much going on that before I know it, my weekend is entirely full of stuff I don't actually want to do. We want to be everything for everybody. We want to help. We want to have fun. But this shouldn't be at the expense of our sanity. Starting this weekend, I'm divvying up my time according to my own needs and desires. The week is heavy with work . . . so that downtime is more important than ever.

#5: Eat well. As well as possible, at least.

Cookies and cakes are popping up everywhere. Starbucks is tempting me with peppermint mochas. We're having holiday parties at work and at home. Cold weather means a heavier appetite for heavier foods. I'm eating a ton of sugar, fat, and refined carbs. It's shocking my system (well, maybe not THAT dramatic . . . but I can feel it!). Now's not the time to forget to eat breakfast (which I did twice this week!) or forget to bring lunch (which I did THREE times this week!). Nope, I need to plan ahead. I've said it so many times before -- but you are what you eat. And right now, I'm like 10 Hershey's kisses, a big cup of coffee, and a food court PB&J on white bread. Yuck!

Are you grumpy or feeling blah, too? How do you deal with the onset of winter? The mad rush into the holiday season? I'd love to hear how you keep your body and mind healthy and happy. Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

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