With the holidays over and the shiny excitement of the New Year dimmed down to a distant glow, the month of February, for most, can be a gloomy realization that winter is still in full effect. Shorter days and darker nights can make a dramatic impact on overall mental and physical well-being. Luckily, there are lots of local events to kick the winter blues and keep a healthy mindset continuing into 2019.

Eat Smarter

Mood and food are directly connected. According to Harvard Health Publishing of Harvard Medical School, “multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function—and even a worsening of symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression.” Eating healthy food isn’t just beneficial for weight control, it’s for improving a glum winter mindset as well. Tablespoon Cooking Co. located in Findlay Kitchen is offering a Healthy Recipe Makeovers course that teaches cooks of all skill levels how to add nutritional value to favorite dishes, simply by swapping out simple ingredients. The class takes place Feb. 5 from 6-9 p.m. Additional season-inspired cooking classes can be found at tablespooncookingco.com/classes.

Become At One With Nature

With the New Year pours in improved health resolutions. While many have probably joined gyms, started fitness programs and planned their training schedule for upcoming races, there are other ways to get out and get moving this winter.

It may become a default to hibernate indoors during colder weather, however studies show that walking outdoors has a significant impact on lowering stress, increasing energy and improving mental cognition. More research by the Harvard School of Public Health surprisingly shows that American adults spend less time outdoors than they do inside vehicles—less than 5 percent of their day.

Cincinnati is home to dozens of parks and nature reserves to escape urbanization and become at one with nature. Great Parks of Hamilton County is hosting the Adventure Hike Series: Fuel Your Hike on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 10 a.m. where participants will hike and learn tips on winter nutrition and hydration. Great Parks also hosts Walk With a Doc, a twice a month walk alongside a local doctor to discuss steps towards bettering one’s health, among other nature-themed events and hikes.

For those keen on staying indoors while still enjoying nature, Krohn Conservatory’s Fabulous Foliage Spring Show is taking place now until Sunday, March 10. The colored foliage and vibrant plants will make you hopeful for spring that is soon to come.

Indulge in Art

Participating in cultural activities, such as the arts, concerts or live performances, have scientifically shown to increase rates of good health and satisfaction with one’s life and lower rates of anxiety and depression, according to a study performed by Koenraad Cuypers, a researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Upcoming shows and exhibitions include “Thoughts Made Visceral” at the Weston Art Gallery Feb. 1-March 24, Ingri Fiksdal: “DIORAMA” performance series at the Contemporary Arts Center Feb. 18-19, “Winslow Homer to Georgia O’Keeffe: American Paintings from The Phillips Collection” at Taft Museum of Art, Feb. 9-May 19, and “Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu” at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (now extended through March 1).


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