Seeking Sunshine

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
When I was a little girl, my parents would call me Sunshine Sarah. They say it's because I was so happy all the time.  I also think it had something to do with being a girl after 2 boys, 18 months apart. The nickname wasn't meant to be a literal reflection, but I find that it fits me quite well.

I have always loved being out in the sun. It can change my mood, my mojo, my focus in a matter of seconds.  I soak it up. Whether it's drying in the sun after a cool dip in clear blue water, floating down the New River on a sunny day in the Blue Ridge Mountains or a long walk on a fall day taking in the beauty of the changing leaves I love to be out in the sun. In the winter months, when the sun can hide for days, I find myself struggling with being sluggish, unfocused and general blah-ness. (full disclosure: Blah-ness is not an actual word).

So how do I combat the blahs? If I could, I would hop on a jet to my personal happi place: Grand Cayman Island. But since that is rarely an option, here are a few of my go-to's to change my mood:

1 // Music - Music has such a powerful impact on my mood and it's often immediate. I have a few favorite Pandora Playlists -- I'm looking at you, John Mayer.  I also have a few Playlists in my iTunes that are Mood specific. A few examples: Get Stuff Done, Rainy Days, Summer, Root Canal (I've had 3. One of them took three attempts. That deserves it's own playlist, people).

2 // Exercise - I've always been active. I played outside all the time as a kid -- fun fact: in Seattle, WA; a very non-sunny place! -- and in college a wonderful room mate introduced me to the beauty of a gym routine. When the sun is elusive, I find that a burst of energy really does help. Sometimes it's a 30 minute walk. Sometimes it's a 12-minute toning routine. Sometimes it's Wii Dance. Get moving! Many a times it's been the very last thing I've wanted to do, and when I power through it always, ALWAYS boosts my mood. Combined with one of the aforementioned playlists, this is a killer combo!

3 // Natural light - Even when the sun is hiding, I keep the windows shades open and get as much natural light as I can into the house. We use sun tubes in a few places in our home and they are hands down one of my favorite things ever.  Even on dark days my kitchen is flooded with a substantial amount of natural light.

4 // Dark Chocolate - When all else fails, a little indulgence is just the ticket. And come on, we've all read (or skimmed. Or just read the title) of all those articles that tell you how good dark chocolate is for you. I like to call it a Vitamin.

Those are my go-to's, what works for you?

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