Authentic Wellness January Newsletter

Beating the Winter Blues 

Seasonal affective disorder or what I like to call the "Winter Blues" is a type of depression that's related to the change in seasons.  It usually comes around in the winter months and is characterized by lower energy, restlessness, feeling down, or losing interest in activities one usually enjoys.  As someone who loves the sunshine and being outdoors as much as possible, I know first hand how tough Chicago winters can be. When it's bitter cold and snowing and you go days in a row without sunshine it's hard to stay upbeat and optimistic.  After a few winters here I have learned some tips and tricks to try and beat the winter blues, and instead embrace the slowness of the season.  Instead of crawling under your covers and hiding all season try some of these tips to uplift your spirits and keep you positive through the long winter months.

1. Get outside and get some fresh air
I know that going outside in negative degree temps doesn't sound that appealing, but sometimes just getting some fresh air can lift your spirits. Fresh air helps with digestion,  cleans your lungs, and helps to boost your immunity.  Bundle up for a walk around the block and I guarantee you will feel a little better.

2. Try something new
Take a cooking class, pottery class or learn a new skill.  The winter is a great time of year to explore new hobbies and learn a new skill set.  Many of these kind of activities take place indoors and are more fun to do in the winter months.  

3. Decorate your space with plants
Plants not only brighten up your space but they also help to clean the air you breath.  Keep your shades open to give them natural light and they will instantly make your room look lighter and more welcoming. 

4. Plan a vacation
Having a warm weather vacation planned is a great way to beat the winter blues and is a nice break from the cold.  The sunshine will help bump up your Vitamin D, and who doesn't love getting a tan?  This is a must do for me in the winter months.   

5. Make more social plans
While its tempting to lay on your couch and watch Netflix all weekend, it's probably not doing much to boost your mood.  Making more social plans will help get you out of the house and hanging with friends is a great way to keep your spirits high.

6. Hit the gym
Hitting the gym or your favorite fitness studio is a great way to produce endorphins and get your feel good hormones pumping.  Stay motivated to get your workouts in by joining a class or finding a workout buddy to sweat with.

7. Eat more warming foods
Eat more soups, stews, and drink hot beverage when its cold out.  Cooking more warming foods is comforting and is an instant mood booster.  Try this warming Turmeric Tea recipe filled with warming spices and anti-inflammatory properties. 
8. Hit the snooze button
It's ok to hit the snooze button if your body is craving more sleep that usual.  With less daylight our bodies sync more to the circadian rhythm and sometimes we may require more sleep.  Listen to your unique needs and do whats right for you.

9. Get an essential oil diffuser
Diffusing essential oils is a great way to change your mood.  It's fun to try new scents as well as blend your own concoctions.  Essential oils can help calm you, energize you and can even help alleviate cold symptoms.  

10. Get comfy
Treat yourself to a big comfy blanket, soft pj's or those fluffy slippers you've had your eye on.  It's comforting to wrap up in a soft blanket and outfit and just relax with a hot cup of tea.  Bonus points if you have a fireplace to sit by!

11. Try an outdoor sport
Winter is a great time to try a new outdoor sport like downhill or cross country skiing, snowshoeing or ice skating.  Don't let the cold keep you cooped up all winter long.   


Running for Chicago Run 

I recently joined the Next Generation Board for a local organization called Chicago Run, and we have our first fundraiser of the year coming up in February.  Chicago run is a non-profit organization that promotes the health and wellness of Chicago children through innovative, engaging and sustainable youth running programs.  Next month is our annual Winter Refuel event and I would love for you to come join the fun and support this wonderful cause!  

Winter Refuel Event Details
Put your running skills to the test and join Chicago Run’s Next Generation Board for a run-a-thon at Runn Chicago.  Gather a team of up to 4 people to compete in a 45-minute treadmill race.  Whether you’re a speed demon or a speed walker, your team has a chance to win fun prizes while supporting Chicago Run. 

Prizes will be awarded for top mileage and best team spirit.  Keep the race interesting by purchasing “hurdles”, such as increased incline, to challenge your opponents. 

Bring your cheer squad! Food and drink will be served throughout the event, so non-runners are welcome to come cheer you on and enjoy the evening.  

Thursday February 22nd 6:00-9:30pm 

Event will be at Runn Chicago 

Food and drinks will be served & a silent auction will be open all evening 

Race times— 6:00-6:45pm and 7:00-7:45pm 

To register a team, sign up to sponsor and/or buy a ticket to cheer on your friends, please visit  Questions?  Please contact Debra Michaels at or call us at 773-961-8470.

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Recipe of the Month 

Spending more time indoors during the winter months isn't so bad since I get to spend more time in the kitchen trying new recipes and tweaking some of my go-tos.  This months recipe is little bite sized nut butter energy bars that work great as an afternoon snack or anytime you need a little boost.  They don't require any baking and are good kept in the fridge for about a week.  Enjoy! 

1/2 cup peanut butter (or nut butter of choice)
3 Tbs cacao nibs
8 medjool dates, pitted
1.5 Tbs hemp seeds
1.5 Tbs chia seeds
3 Tbs almond flour
3 Tbs coconut flakes
1 Tbs coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Place the dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water for about 10 minutes or until they are soft.

2. Put the cacao nibs in the food processor and blend until they are a powder. 

3. When the dates have softened add them to the food processor along with the peanut butter and blend until it's mixed.  

4. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and blend well, it may be loose and crumbly. 

5. Brush an 8" x 5" pan with coconut oil and place the mixture into the pan and press down so it is tightly packed together.  Place the pan in the fridge and let it cool for an hour.

6. When the mixture is firm you can remove it from the fridge and sprinkle it with flaky sea salt.  Cut it into bite sized cubes and enjoy!