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The Way to Wellness - When you think there’s nothing to do, you’re wrong

February 27, 2015
By Jenna Pollock - Emmet County Naturalist , Estherville News

Mother Nature has placed an obstacle course before us. One day we're snowshoeing and the next we're ice skating on freshly frozen thawed snow from the day before! Don't let Mother Nature's moods sway your own.

There's plenty to do outdoors and indoors to keep you well and active this time of year.

Sunlight is the key to happiness! Seasonal Affective Disorder individuals know this to be true. Those of us who find our usual bouts of crabbiness turning into an everyday affair during the winter could learn to turn towards the sun for a little relief. Magical little chemical exchanges take place when the sunlight brightens our irises. Without getting too technical, let's focus instead on how to get more sunlight into your every day.

n Walk in the sun. Whether it's for five minutes or five hours (weather depending), take a stroll in the crisp cool winter air. It's refreshing (some days more than others). Be sure to dress for the elements. Extra layers ensure warmth when you're starting out and can be removed as the body warms up. Even on cloudy days, exposure to fresh air and minimal sunshine will do a body good.

For many of us the biggest holdup is whether we'll be warm enough to walk comfortably. Emmet County Conservation, Estherville City Parks and Fort Defiance State Park have numerous trails that can help protect you from the severe cold winds. It becomes a matter of knowing which way the wind is blowing and making sure you're buffeted from it by standing on the other side of the tree line. This time of year the trees won't block out the sun, but they will help hold back the wind.

Another issue holding several of us back from taking a walk in the winter is the degree of traction we'll discover on the trails. Ice-covered trails create a slippery slope for many. An easy fix is to purchase a shoe covering with barbs to provide better traction - like Yak Traks. Another alternative is snowshoes. Not only do they help keep you from sinking into the snow, they also help gain traction on ice patches. The Emmet County Nature Center has snowshoes available for youth and adults to try out on the trails around the Wolden Recreation Area.

n Keep active indoors. Despite everything I've suggested you've decided to stay indoors. Some days it's unavoidable. The best remedy for your wellbeing is to help boost your energy by keeping the lights on and bright, keep the heat turned up so your body is warm and find an activity to engage your mind and your muscles. A book can be stimulating for a while, but eventually your derriere may fall asleep.

Some of our most favorite hobbies can be amended for indoor use. My archers know this better than most. Then again, I wouldn't recommend bringing a snowmobile indoors. When you find yourself restless with energy, discover a new hobby. For many this winter has become a discovery of fiber crafts.

From hand knitting and arm crocheting to needle felting, we're discovering the art of fiber crafts. The Estherville Public Library will host a finger knitting workshop on Saturday, Feb. 28 from 10:30 to noon. The Emmet County Nature Center is hosting a needle felting workshop on Saturday, Feb. 28 from 1-3 p.m. There are still spots available for both events. Call for more information. But most of all beat the winter blahs by staying active in your community! There are too many opportunities taking place for any utterance of, "there's nothing to do."

 
 
 

 

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