Cold…It’s Draining Both Mentally and Physically For Me

It has been below zero for 12 days. Seriously, some mornings are as low as -30 with the wind chills. It feels like months but according to the weather man this morning its been 12 days…..12 painful days.

A few mornings I have not even had it in me to drag myself out to go to the gym in the wee hours of the morning and we all know this is my happy place in the winter months. It’s simply astounding to me how it can get this cold.

I went out last night with my brother and walking back to my vehicle I could feel my inner core shaking….like when you are doing a plank and your near the end when your entire body starts to shake….yeh, that was me simply walking to my vehicle. Who needs to do planks, just step outside in Wisconsin during the winter.

My fingers are cracked and this is after putting lotion on numerous times a day.

I dread going to the grocery store since it takes a few minutes longer to load the packages into my vehicle.

Oh, and pumping gas. Yeh, this is not going to happen. I make sure my husband or son are with me and then I politely mention….maybe I aught to stop for gas, would you pump it please? Yup, I am THAT wife/mom!

I sit a pray every morning when 4:40a.m. rolls around that the garage goes all the way up and comes back down without coming off the track since garage doors hate the frigid temperature for some reason.

Thankfully two out of four of our vehicles are in the garage overnight. Although, so far all have started every morning at this point.

I already have my Christmas list started for next year….I want a heated mattress pad. There is nothing worse than climbing into bed after a long day and the sheets are freezing cold. I have resorted to turning on a heating pad a half hour before going to bed to “preheat” my side of the bed. Yeh, ridiculous isn’t it.

Apparently, the weather professionals say it is suppose to warm up as of Sunday. A balmy 30 degrees or there about….I am excited! Yes, you read that correctly…..I am EXCITED about 30 degrees.

I know its only January..but I am over winter. Anyone else feeling this way yet?

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Items That Help Me Survive Winter In Wisconsin

It’s no secret winter is not my favorite season. I suffer from seasonal depression and literally count down the days on a calendar until the clocks change again, daylight appears past 4p.m., and I see green grass. Once the holidays are over is when it really gets rough for me. Although, I have lived here my entire life and have found some things that I simply could not live without during the winter months. So for all of you making plans to visit us here in the midwest during the winter or for all of you thinking about moving here from a warmer climate…read on!

#1 Lotion: Once the heat is turned on and the water we shower in is turned up it’s like death to your skin. You dry out, you itch and it’s just plain rough on the skin to be out in the elements of winter.

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#2 Lip Balm: Much like our skin, our lips are every sensitive to the cold also. I have these little tubes of moisture in every little hiding spot I know…..SUV, car, pockets of all my jackets, next to the bed, in my purse, and even in my backpack if the urge would hit for a quick snowshoe hike through the woods somewhere.

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#3 Tea/Coffee etc: You may think being in a warm house you could drink anything and maybe so, but something mentally happens when it starts to snow and you literally crave something warm to drink. We here are not all day coffee drinkers but tea makes an appearance quite often during the days of winter.

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#4 Down: I will never regret buying my down bed comforter and my down winter jacket. They are the best investments I have made to help me survive winter.

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#5 Hobbies: I am not sure if you would call this a hobby but it does take my mind off the snow and the days that are so incredibly short and cold. We do jig saw puzzles during the winter months and its always a goal to see how many we can finish before the snow melts.

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#6 Memories: What once was will come again. I look back at my summer time pictures often during the winter months. They help me recall a much happier time in life and give me something to look forward to.

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#7 Exercise: You know it baby….it’s the only time I can break a sweat during the winter months. Sometimes I will workout twice a day just to feel warm.

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Are you from the midwest?

What is one thing you could not live without during the long winter months?

Getting Through The Winter Blahs

52 days from today we all get to change our clocks again. No matter what the calendar says….this is what marks the end of winter for me. More hours of sunshine is instant happiness for me. However, until that days arrives I often feel blah. It’s hard to cook, clean, work, and all around function some days. Although, somehow I do it, everyday! Which made me pay attention to what has been helping me get through these days of blah.

In the winter one of the biggest things I struggle with is feeling warm. I actually believe some of this is mental, because if everyone else is comfortable, why am I always cold? I have found a few solutions to help me with this issue. I eat a lot of soup. I would bet I eat soup at least 5 out of 7 days a week. Homemade, boxed or in a restaurant, it really doesn’t matter to me. I love soup.

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Another thing I have been experimenting with is hot tea. My son is a huge tea drinker which made me start trying some teas. He is into the loose leaf tea and has so many different flavors that I would not even know where to start. So I recently found some sample size tea and bought two different flavors. Both of which I am really enjoying on a daily basis. IMG_3300

One big thing that brings me joy anytime of year is my job. Daycare can be stressful, difficult and exhausting…..believe me, I have been there! Lately, however, the two boys that I have, who have grown up together since birth at our home, have turned into toddlers and have begun playing so nicely together. It’s great to just sit back and watch them figure things out on their own and work together.

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Winter for me is my time to get organized, clean, and sort through items we no longer want. Let’s face it, in the summer my weekends are spent paddling something somewhere and my weekdays are spent outside running through sprinklers or having water balloon fights, which means nothing inside gets done for months. But that’s ok, that’s what winter is for. Anyhow, I finally made an attempt to organize our food shelves upstairs. Ever since they changed from boxes to zipper bags in many food items, my shelves have been a disaster!!! Boxes used to line up nicely and stack beautifully. With the amount of food we consume between my family and the daycare children, I often will open the door to find a complete unorganized mess of zipper bags. Here is the before picture:

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So I bought a few vacuum seal containers to hold some of the food items that we use the most. I then organized and cleaned out this area. I plan to try this for a week or so and I will then go back for a few more containers if needed. So far it’s been a success. Here is the after picture:

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I would have to say by far the biggest thing that has changed this winter for me compared to others is that a group of friends and I have started going out for lunch once a month together. You may think once a month is minimal but this gives me something to look forward to every month. We have done it a few times so far and have plans in the making for the next month already. I am really loving this time and believe it is really helping me get though the worst of winter. IMG_1918

That’s how I have been trying to beat the winter blah feeling here in WI.

Tell me, have you found anything that works for you?

What is your hardest month to get through in the winter? (Mine is February)

 

 

Summer vs. Winter On The Trail

How can we be 45 degrees one week, then get 13 inches of snow the next week and now this…..frigid, painful, below zero temps for the majority of this week? It’s like a roller coaster ride and I want off!

Before this all came about and I knew I would be locked up in my home for days I made an attempt to walk a trail with my husband. I really thought we would arrive and it would be snow covered but to my surprise it was not bad.

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Those tracks you see are from someone pulling an ice fishing sled down the trail to access a favorite ice fishing spot. As we made our way further down the trail you could see large rocks thrown out onto the ice to see the thickness of the ice cover. Which meant, of course, my husband had to toss one out there also to see for himself how much ice was there. Needless to say, not enough to even walk on. The rock he tossed out went right in and water came shooting up and out as soon as the rock made contact.

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A little further down the trail we saw that the person dragging the ice fishing sled made the decision to forgo his ice fishing plans and the tracks ended and turned around. I’d say that was a good choice, or at best, a safe choice.

As happy as I was to be on a trail, it also made me so sad at the difference winter makes from summer on this same trail. With the water being icy and looking so cold

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to parts of the trail being snow covered,

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it really made me think of how much more I love this trail in summer time. Things are green,IMG_1664

life is everywhere,  IMG_1669  IMG_1926

and sunsets are beautiful in the evenings.

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Oh, how I can’t wait to walk out to the platform, sit, and watch the sun set again. A few more weeks to wait but it’s coming……..

Alrighty then…..enough day dreaming. Here is reality and what I did for workouts this week.

Saturday: gym:45 minute elliptical and stretching

Sunday: gym: 40 minute elliptical, lower body weights and stretching

Monday: mall: 3 mile walk

Tuesday: home: upper body weights and 20 minute recumbent bike

Wednesday: home: 30 minute recumbent bike

gym: 33 minutes elliptical, total body weights, stretching

Thursday: home: upper body weights

mall: 3 mile walk

Friday: rest

As you can see this has been a rough week of workouts. Life sort of got in the way a few nights and I had to take care of some business matters another night. Add in the extreme cold and our over flowing gym with new members…..and I just couldn’t find the motivation to go there more than once during the week. No one really understands how much I dislike the winter cold except me.

However, I do feel somewhat accomplished this week. I did some well needed cleaning and organizing of an area in our home that has been driving me crazy for awhile now and I finally found what I hope will be a great addition to our group of kiddos in the near future. These are both big areas that #1 make me happy and #2 give me security. Change is hard but when you feel good that the change about to happen is positive then it’s so much easier to face head on.

Is It Possible To Have Too Much Summer?

It it possible to have too much summer? In my opinion NEVERRRRRR!
Especially since I deal with seasonal affective disorder(SAD) every year.

As much as I want to ignore the facts, I have to admit, I think our summer has officially ended. Last week it got immensely cooler, leaves are falling everywhere, and I am feeling the need to make some changes to adjust to the season.

I have started adding soups back into our meal rotation. I love soup all year long but make it rarely if ever during the summer months. Now is when I find we spend more time indoors and my creativity in the kitchen runs wild.

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Another big change I typically make during this time of year is by adding flannel sheets and an extra blanket to our bed. Is there anything worse than crawling into a cold bed at the end of a log day? No there is not! Although, this year we finally decided to make a purchase we have debated for awhile. We bought a down comforter for our bed and let me be the first to say……I LOVE IT so far. It’s so warm, yet light weight, and most importantly, not too hot for my husband to sleep comfortably also. My hope is that maybe we can get by this winter without the need for flannel sheets. Time will tell.

Talking about heat and warmth…..I sort of have this obsession every year to make it to the same date on the calendar that I do every other year before feeling the need to turn our furnace on. I know, odd, but it’s always a goal for some reason. Last year we caved finally on Oct. 21…..we’ll see this year how long we can last without heat. (HINT: Baking in the morning always helps reach this goal)

As the darkness creeps in earlier every night I have been finding myself actually going to bed super earlier than normal. I am not a night owl as it is but 7:30 p.m. is somewhat too early. After dinner we typically get in some sort of exercise and then it’s pretty much bed time for me. I battle this all winter and something I have found that passes time quickly and keeps my mind from dreading the season so much is jigsaw puzzles. There has been talk of digging them out and getting one started, but so far I have held back from taking this step. I just don’t know for how long I can continue to avoid it.

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Last year I was advised by my doctor to try Vitamin D for my SAD symptoms. I finally did and have to admit, I did notice that taking it did lighten the depressed mood I feel for months. I plan to start this in the next week or so, to get a good start on it before we change our clocks and it’s practically dark before I am even done working. This is when my seasonal depression really affects me the most.

And last but not least, I bought my first Christmas gift a few days ago. I am not a last minute shopper simply because I can’t tolerate the crowds. I am a list maker and I stick to it. I write down who we all need gifts for, make a budget, and write an idea for each person on this list. This makes Christmas shopping so easy. There is no wandering around aimlessly with no idea what I am looking for. It’s in,out, and done!

Do you struggle with winter?

What have you found to help you get through it?

How does your lifestyle change during the winter months?

 

 

Monthly Health Challenge: October 2015

Three more months to go before we again start a new year….can you believe it? As September comes to an end and we being October you sure can feel the cool, crispness in the air. Which for me means walking outside is coming to an end. My husband and I used to walk outside year round, in snow, on ice, and in freezing temperatures. That all ended about three years ago when I had a bad fall and needless to say, it was not my first fall outside during one of our winter walks. (I am not a good ice walker and WI has a lot of ice) After this we now rarely will walk outside after the first few snow falls. It’s just too risky and stressful for me. Which brings this months health challenge to be one of the most important ones of the entire year in my opinion.

October Health Challenge Is: Walk outside 1 mile 5x’s a week.

This is not a lot to ask. Your body will thank you for the exercise and the fresh air. And almost anyone can walk one mile without much effort. So this is the minimum I want you to try and walk….if you feel like you can walk further, by all means go ahead.

Good Luck!

Join Us In Participating In The 52 Hike Challenge

You all know winter is not my favorite time of year…..it’s cold, dreary, snow covered, and just plain miserable here in WI. Now, I know some individuals love winter as it brings skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing and so on……however, I am not one of those individuals that enjoys these activities. So recently I was searching for something to keep me motivated through the winter months and came across this very awesome challenge.

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52 Hike Challenge was created by a couple whom, for each their own reasons, felt the need to inspire others to get out and be active. Which just so happens to be my goal of blogging, since I also found happiness after I figured out that good vibes come from being active. So I signed us up after researching the challenge and have already started logging hikes we take in our area. I have no doubt we will accomplish this goal of 52 hikes in one year. I think this is exactly the motivation my body and mind need to get out in the winter months and be active.

Take a look and read over their website. It was easy to sign up, fun to read where others have hiked, and maybe, just maybe we will meet some new people that also enjoy the outdoors as much as we do.