My First Publication and Top 10 Ways to Avoid the Winter Blues

I am back!! It is 2014 and I am feeling pumped after recharging my batteries with wonderful family and friend time, SO MUCH SLEEP and a mental break. From November through December my schedule was completely packed and I felt like I was running on fumes. My mind and body felt run down and were in desperate need of rest. I am so grateful that I was able to have so much time off. Now it is time to kick it into high gear again with lots of projects and professional experiences lined up in the next four months. I graduate the dietetic internship in May (yay!!!!) and I know this time will fly.

Also some exciting news:

This week I received the most recent edition of Food & Nutrition magazine with my recipe inside!!

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to develop a recipe and am absolutely humbled by its inclusion in this month’s reimagined food feature. The idea was to update an old favorite with a twist. My assignment was to revamp meatloaf and I came up with a Mediterranean Meatless Lentil Loaf. I did in fact eat all of my trials and did have some objective taste-testers to confirm that the dish turned out to be scrumptious and filling. If you do not receive Food & Nutrition magazine here is the link to the online publication: Retro-Reimagined – Mediterranean Meatless Lentil Loaf

Now that I am rested and motivated, I thought I would share some tips on how I plan to make it through the sometimes “blah” winter months:

1. Vitamin D 
Less sunlight during the winter means less vitamin D. During this time, many of us unfortunately do not think to actively seek out sources of vitamin D. All it takes is 15-20 minutes of being outside (not completely bundled so your skin has some sun exposure) or if you’re lucky enough to have windows in your workplace, make sure to up your strolls by the window otherwise known as “increased window activity” (I may or may not have just made that up). No windows or time to go outside? Include food sources of vitamin D like oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel), egg yolks, mushrooms and vitamin D fortified dairy products and orange juice.  Vitamin D deficiency is no joke and can lead to things like: bone pain, muscle weakness and eventually thin, brittle bones…no thank you!

2. Outdoor activities
Sledding, iceskating, cross country skiing, tubing…the list goes on and on. My sister and I met up with some friends on New Year’s day and had a blast iceskating at a local, outdoor rink. It was inexpensive and so much fun!

3. Change Your Routine 
Although I am all for routine, sometimes too much structure can lead to bored moods and listless/unproductive tendencies.
Simple ways to change up your routine: Don’t eat the exact same thing for breakfast every day, take a different route to work, change your running schedule, try a new tea, go food shopping on Friday instead of Saturday, throw in a random weekday activity (dancing, intramural sports, a longer walk).

Don’t let your schedule rule you, spontaneity and change keeps our minds sharp!

4. Designated Bake Days
Who does not like a warm treat on a frigid day?! Take a moment to organize a fun bake day with your friends, family or both. Enjoy each other’s company and walk away with a grab bag of breads/desserts. You can freeze what you don’t eat so there is no need to gobble all your goodies at once.

5. Warm Showers + Your Favorite Scent
Cold weather + daily obligations = stress/tense muscles.
Easy way to de-stress?
Take a warm shower or bath. The heat helps to relax muscles and the water can have a wonderful soothing effect. Sometimes I splash a few drops of essential oil like eucalyptus or bergamot on the bathtub floor in front of me (where the water from the shower head won’t immediately wash the scent away) to increase the relaxation factor. Scents have a powerful way of affecting our mood (calming/energizing) so try this trick out and see if it works for you.

6. Knitting Sessions
A productive, known stress reliever. Make a cozy scarf for a gift or just play around with different patterns and if it does not turn out just as you plan, you can unwind the yarn when you’re finished and start fresh.

7. Family Q.T.
No one hugs like your mom, makes cinnamon rolls like your dad or makes you laugh like your sister. Savor that time and store those moments in your heart.

8. Homemade Mochas
Your favorite roast + cocoa powder + milk (plant-based or other) + dash cinnamon

9. Sorel Snow Boots
Warm, dry feet during these slushy times make very happy toes : )

10. Movie Marathons (by a fire if available)
Homemade popcorn + warm apple cider + a movie marathon (pick a theme or everyone picks their favorite flick)

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