Ah, winter. A perceivable wonderland of snowy dreamscapes, adventurous fun like skiing and ice skating over a frozen community pond, cozy nights indoors with the likes of hot chocolate sprinkled with slowly melting mini-mallows, SUPER cute clothes to bundle up in and happiness for days as we inch closer and closer to the holidays. If you are from a place like Montana and are familiar with what experiencing winter is really like, you may have another picture in mind. The neighbors all out alongside you scraping ice off of cars and warming them up to avoid wear and tear in the blistering, icy frigidness of the morning temps, the strangers you will stop to help who have gotten stuck in the most inconvenient places throughout town, the dreamy white blanket of snow turning into a freckled and dirty looking slush from traffic and plows, ah yes – the plows, grey skies and the collective grumpiness that comes from such little sunshine. Don’t get me wrong – there is much to be adored about our winters here in MT (especially if you are the outdoorsy type), but it’s not without it’s downers. We’ve gathered a few tips and tricks to keep those best-life vibes going strong through the bitterness of our lovely lack of sunshine.
- Plug It In
We all know the significance of sunlight concerning a healthy lifestyle. Vitamin D is essential to keeping bones, joints, and teeth healthy, as well as the benefits concerning both mental and emotional health. Lack of vitamin of D can not only kickstart a terrible domino effect of negative effects on the body, but it can also be the catalyst for mental/emotional irregularity. Consistent and uninterrupted sunlight is not something we, here in Montana, get to indulge in the same as other parts of the world. So, what can we do to make up for it? How about we try plugging in a little happy and letting good old technology do its thing? Happy Lamps are a surefire way into the benefits of sunlight without any of the harmful UV rays. By stimulating a network of sensors in the body, these lamps can help to increase the body’s natural production of the happy hormone – serotonin. In turn, this effect on the hormones also triggers a balance in melatonin, which helps to regulate sleep. So not only can the Happy Lamp support a positive active lifestyle, it can also promote a healthy circadian rhythm. Happy Lamps also come with a price tag varying anywhere from around $50.00 all the way up to around $3000.00 – depending on personal preferences.
The benefits of Vitamin D are hard to ignore. Along with what we listed above, this is also an important piece of the puzzle concerning the immune system. Although there are several dietary sources of Vitamin D, modern farming practices, transport times, and storage all further the depletion of nutrients in our grocery store foods. Fact of the matter is: our food does not provide the same nutrition today that it did 50 years ago. While there is no out-supplementing a poor diet, if you are not supplementing the chances of being deficient in something is extremely high! When reaching for supplementation, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Is it a naturally sourced / clean supplement as opposed to a synthetic?
- What is the nutritional value of the vitamin in each serving of your supplement?
- Are there any additives (not clean!) or other ingredients that could trigger adverse effects? (Allergies, intolerances, etc.)
It is no secret that we live in a day and age where self-care is a primary focus in many people’s routine. With a plethora of resources available through the vast number of connections we have at hand (libraries, online platform like YouTube/Audible/Spotify/etc.), discovering the best suited form of self-care can be quite the adventure! Not every resource is going to a perfect fit for every person in the same way. Designating time each day (whether it be 5 minutes or hours) to focus in refueling and refocusing can be a game-changer! With the fast-paced, instant gratification world we live in, it can be incredibly easy to overlook how empty our cups are until it is too late. For each of us to be able to give our best to those we love the most, we must, first, be at our very best! (They deserve the best of us, not what’s left of us.) Whether it be a peaceful meditation, a creative project that allows a free expression of what you are feeling, physical activity & exercise, etc. – go ahead and dip your toes in to find out what’s comfy!
One of the most beautiful, gratitude-inducing factors of being a Montanan, is the freedom the thoroughly enjoy the open outdoors. Yes, even in winter! From the simple joys of building front yard snowman with their charcoal eyes keeping close watch on the neighborhood fun, to the extreme indulgence of adventure with the likes of the 15 different skiing/snowboarding areas we have access to – there is no shortage of fun to be had! (Have you heard about Skijoring?!) If braving the bitter cold for a day’s worth of smiles is not your perfect idea of paradise, no stress! In fact, you can experience quite the opposite when you visit one of our 15 different hot spring locations throughout the state. Ice fishing, ice climbing (we dare you), fat biking, snowmobiling – the list goes on and on! Also, for when physical exertion is at the bottom of your to-do list, you can book your very own sleigh ride in 7 different locations or even a private stagecoach tour through the winter-wonderland that Yellowstone National Park becomes this time of year. Bed & breakfasts, resorts, ranches, breweries/distilleries, and the food – oh goodness, the food. National Geographic even says, "Good food reveals a lot about any destination and nowhere is that more true than good ol’ Montana." Whatever your favorite flavor of fun may be, winters in Montana have plenty to offer!
The downside to winter in these parts can certainly be amplified by a lack of attention to preparation. The last thing anybody wants to deal with this time of year (especially as holidays approach) is the added stress, expense, or time necessary for home and vehicle repair! Don’t be your own worst enemy and get those maintenance checklists out of the way asap. How’s your vehicle running? Are your tires prepared for the slick, slippery road conditions? Have you checked your home’s heating systems to ensure they are working properly? Do they need cleaning or changing of necessary filters? Seasonal maintenance checks are a must for keeping the headaches at bay! How about sealing those drafty windows and doors? Do you have a generator that has been checked recently to ensure it is in working order? Some extra little tips we recommend are simple, but lifesavers:
- Keeping a warm blanket, hand warmers, and long/thick clothing in your vehicle for emergencies, along with an emergency road kit.
- Allowing yourself enough time to warm up vehicles, scraping any snow or ice completely off (don’t want to be at fault for another driver’s broken windshield). We all know winter weather brings longer travel times and planning ahead can make all the difference in your day!
Whatever your idea of a good time may be, do not let anybody have you believing that it has to stop when winter arrives – at least not in Montana. If we missed your favorite winter to-do here, be sure to let us know what it is! Visit us on Facebook @AlpinePlumbing or leave us a message on our www.alpinebillings.com. Tune in next week to learn a little more about the madness behind the scenes at our Alpine home base office!