Hike up the stockings and pull the ear flaps down low — winter’s not over yet. If you’re smack dab in the middle of a ferocious February, you have our condolences. Unless you’re a hibernating bear, winter is no easy burden. Compared to other animals, human beings are rather ill-equipped to fend off frigid weather. We do, however, have a few mechanisms that provide some mild protection. Ever wonder why we shiver when we’re cold? The trembling muscle activity creates heat which is used to protect the body’s core temperature. We also have tiny blood vessels near the surface of the skin that react to the cold by contracting in an effort to send more blood to the heart and brain. Body fat also does what it can to insulate us from the elements. Luckily, we came equipped with something else — a whole lot of human ingenuity. We’ve been smart enough to knit sweaters, fabricate fuzzy ear muffs, concoct high calorie comfort foods, and design heating systems, saunas, sunlamps and airplanes to whisk us away to tropical climes. But there are few of us who can afford to spend all winter hibernating under the Tahitian sun. Daily life must go on during wind, rain, sleet and snow. And despite much effort and ingenuity, more often than not, winter still manages to slow us down, create fatigue, precipitate colds and viruses, and affect us emotionally. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is recognized as a type of winter depression that affects an estimated half million people, probably more. Though not everyone suffers from the more acute symptoms of SAD, most of us are familiar with the way winter can often bring on the blues. Beyond mere bundling up, here are some tips and cures to help you find calm, physically, mentally and emotionally, despite the cold: Eat healthy, but heartily. Ever wonder why you crave richer, heavier foods in the winter months? It’s because your body is brilliant. It has to metabolize food faster in order to create the energy needed to keep itself warm. In other words, it needs the calories richer, heavier foods supply. Calories = Heat. Hence, the attraction to buttery bowls of oatmeal, casseroles and pot pies! When planning meals, it’s good to focus on health, but remember as you ration the amount of butter going into the pan, that this time of year the best thing for your body might just be a few extra calories. Indulge in downtime. Sometimes the best way to brave the icy outdoors is not to. Winter can be an excuse to get in some much needed downtime. You can relax by the fire, read books, watch movies, play board games, organize pictures or engage in other crafty projects. Time can also be spent planning activities with friends and loved ones for when the weather improves. Winter recreation. On the other end of the spectrum, sports like skiing and snowboarding help make winter a season of excitement. Sledding and ice skating are also wonderful ways to enjoy the season and break the inertia brought on by cold weather. Plus, there’s nothing quite like soaking in a hot bath or jacuzzi after a day on the slopes. Just remember, if you’re going to subject your body to both physical exertion and cold, your defenses need to be strong. The right equipment and clothing is essential, as well as a healthy, hearty diet. Aromatherapy magic. The trees are bare. The ground is cold. To the naked eye it appears that all is frozen and lifeless when in fact the world is just sleeping, renewing itself for another round of life. Aromatherapy provides a window onto spring that you can open in any season. Scents that renew, revive and energize are especially suited to winter months. Try lemon verbena, juniper berry, grapefruit or geranium. Warm, sensual scents are also wonderful during this time of year. Try ylang ylang or bergamot. You can add them to a hot bath or a diffuser, make a room spray or simply look for scented products at your local store. Just think of the cinnamon and cardamom smells of the holiday season, and how much warmth the memory of those fragrances bring. Nourish the skin you’re in. Naysayers may mock the women flocking to makeup stands and spending exorbitant amounts of money on miracle creams and lotions, but the fact of the matter is that skin is our largest organ and it covers practically our entire body. If skin feels wretched and wrecked, then it’s likely to affect our state of mind, too. Winter is the worst when it comes to skin. Harsh cold and winds take their toll. All those hot showers and baths do their share to dry skin out. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy creams to keep skin healthy. There are plenty of affordable moisturizers out there. You might want to up the ante on moisture, however. If you’re using a light lotion, switch to a richer one or maybe even a cream. The hands and face bear the brunt of winter’s assault, so take extra care of these extremities, which may need a separate, richer cream than the body. Moisturize daily, especially after bathing. Just as if you were in the sun, protect your skin with appropriate clothing. Feel good in your skin and you’ll find calm! What’s your winter forecast? Call 1.800.573.7495 and speak to a gifted psychic today!