What is a sensory vacation? I have learned to, essentially, trick my senses by barraging them with stimuli I associate with summer and warm, tropical climates. Yes, I know I am still surrounded by the Michigan snow, but it does help to lessen my down times. Here are a few of my favorites. [Please note: If you are experiencing major depression, including but not limited to thoughts of suicide and/or inability to function in daily tasks, please consult with a psychologist, counselor or other health professional immediately.]
|Summer 2010 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula|
I have found that when I use my Mango Mandarin lotion, I crave fruit. Fresh fruit can be pretty expensive this time of year, but frozen fruit is usually more budget-friendly and works great for making smoothies. I also rely on fruit juices, particularly anything containing pineapple juice, to give my taste buds a tropical treat.
Somatosensory (Touch, Proprioception)
One of the things I miss the most during the winter is the feel of warm sunshine on my body. Light therapy, a common treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder, is one option for satisfying this deficiency. Light therapy lamps emit bright light, which mimics natural outdoor light and is thought to effect serotonin production. Additional information about light therapy can be found here. Some people opt to use tanning beds, rather than light therapy lamps, but please be aware that tanning beds can expose the body to high levels of UV rays, which can contribute to skin cancer.
A few other suggestions for beating the winter “blahs”…
– Get plenty of exercise. Despite my busy schedule, I try to get to the gym 4-5 times per week.
– Get enough sleep. It’s important to know how much sleep your body needs to feel well-rested.
– Get fresh air. Sometimes I will leave my lunch in my car, simply so I have to go outside during the day. Even a few minutes of fresh, albeit cold, air can go a long way.
– Eat healthy. Eating heavy, fatty meals will only contribute to the desire to hibernate.
– Supplement your diet with vitamins. Vitamin D is especially important during dark winter months and can make a big difference with energy levels.
What would you add to these suggestions? How do you keep your spirits up during winter?