Saturday, February 18, 2017

ZUMBA WITH TERRY IN SAYULITA, MEXICO: Teaching Fitness After Retirement

Healthy Living After Retirement

I'm Teaching Zumba® Class Two Days per Week

      After years of traveling throughout Mexico, attending Zumba classes in small towns and big cities, I fell in love with Zumba. I found out it's true, Zumba is so much fun that it is addictive! The Zumba Fitness company philosophy is simple: “Pretty much the most awesome workout ever! ...great music, great people, and burn a ton of calories without even realizing it”. While traveling throughout Mexico, I wrote many blog articles about Zumba classes I attended and the wonderful instructors that I met. You can read more about the classes I attended in Mexico at ZumbaMexico.blogspot.com. Retirement has allowed me to have the time to do so much more of the things I love, including Zumba three or four times each week!

Look for my Zumba® Fitness Class Banner in Sayulita!
     Now I teach my own Zumba classes! "Zumba with Terry" is a fun, affordable fitness class incorporating Latin dance music and steps with other great tunes and exercise. The class is easy to follow and it’s fun for everyone. Zumba with Terry in Sayulita welcomes women and men, girls and boys of all ages and levels. “Ditch the Workout & Join the Party!”
All Ages and Levels Welcome! Men, Women, & Children!
     "Zumba with Terry" classes are Mondays and Wednesdays at 9:00AM. They are held at the Casa de La Cultura (Sayulita Cultural House) on Calle Manuel Navarrete in downtown Sayulita (see map and photo below). Keeping it affordable for Sayulita residents and visitors alike, the cost is only 30 pesos (about $1.50 US) per class.
Ditch the Workout...Join the Party!
     I am a Licensed Zumba Instructor trained by the Zumba® Fitness company. Sayulita is my home, so Zumba classes will continue the majority of the year. I am a ZIN member (Zumba Instructor Network), giving me the most current music and choreography from Zumba® Fitness. For further information, see my website: http://terryturrell.zumba.com or my ad on Sayulita Life: https://www.sayulitalife.com/zumba-fitness.

   
"Zumba with Terry" at Casa de La Cultura in Sayulita

Map to Casa de La Cultura in Sayulita

Read more about our travels around Mexico and our decision to retire in Sayulita in my newest eBook "Retirement Before the Age of 59: Healthy Living in Mexico #2" available on Amazon worldwide. Click https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NCMWMJL to view it.
"Retirement Before the Age of 59" eBook on Amazon Worldwide

Sunday, January 29, 2017

WHEN WE RETIRED IN MEXICO, IT WAS PARADISE, BUT NOW....

EVERYTHING ISN'T WONDERFUL

Watch for Chickens & Iguanas in the Road, Too!
     I usually focus on the positive aspects of our retirement in Mexico in my writing. But I'm feeling grumpy today and I want to tell you that it does not always feel like paradise once you've lived in Mexico for a while. It has been a little over a year since we moved into our cute little casita. The adventure has worn off and the reality of living in a Mexican neighborhood in a small town has set in. This life is not for everyone!
Hauling Our Laundry & Groceries in our Golf Cart is a Thing of the Past!
1. No More Golf Carts! There will be no more golf cart usage since the police came in and ticketed anyone driving one, then impounded the cart. We have to walk, ride our bikes, take a taxi, or take the bus to get anywhere. Our golf cart wasn't one of the unlucky ones that got loaded onto a giant tow truck and hauled away, fortunately. But unlicensed golf carts are no longer considered street-legal in the state of Nayarit, and there is no system for licensing them. So ours will just sit and rust away, I guess, along with the two sitting across the way that our Mexican neighbors own, and hundreds of others in the state. We have learned to expect the Mexican government to change the rules without notice.
How Will I Get My Fitbit Weekly Stats Report?

2. My Fitbit® pedometer is gone! The clasp on my four-year-old Fitbit finally gave out and I lost my handy pedometer sometime during Zumba class! Now I don't know when I hit my 10,000 steps for the day. I'm afraid to order another Fitbit while we are living in Mexico because it's a gamble whether the delivery service will find our Mexican home. How will I survive another 6 months without a Fitbit®?!!
A 4-Inch-Wide Moth Quivered on Our Outer Wall for Days, Soaking up the Sun

3. January weather has been COLD! It was only 63°F outside when I finally rolled out from under my 4 blankets on the bed at 8:30 this morning. There are no such thing as heaters in a Mexican house, only the brick and mortar to hold in the warmth, so it was only 68°F in the house in the morning. I had to dress in sweatpants, sweatshirt, and socks to get warm. My body is now acclimated to 80 to 85°F and anything below 74°F feels cold to me. I feel grumpy when I'm cold! I'm ready for spring.
Hanging My Zumba Banners Usually Makes Me Happy

4. Zumba class didn't even make me happy! No one came to my Zumba class one day last week. It was just Jon and me dancing and exercising together. Half of the students probably didn't want to leave their warm beds either. The other half, without golf carts, probably didn't want to walk a half-mile or mile to the Cultural Center. We swept the entire classroom, picked up trash, and put up our Zumba banners, but no one came to our party.
Paint Peeling Off the Base of our Outdoor Wall
5. Paint peels constantly in Mexico. The moisture causes the stucco to effervesce, lifting the surface and crumbling the paint. The walls with effervescence that I scraped and touched up with primer last year are crumbling again. Jon scraped one wall that needs repainting. How long will it sit like that before we get a painter here?
My Mexican Knick-Knacks Collect Dust & Look Dingy

6. Dust, dust, everywhere! My knick-knacks are dusty! Our bedroom light fixtures full of cobwebs--yuk! Our casita is all open to the yard when we throw the doors and windows open each morning once the outside temperature reaches that of the inside of our house. So, it's as though we live outdoors. Dust filters in from the dirt road we live on and from the yard, naturally, settling on everything indoors and out. Our maid is too short to see that the top of the refrigerator is covered with dust, cobwebs, and, yes, gecko poop. We live in a beach town so we track sand and dirt home every time we walk anywhere. Flip-flops must be taken off on the porch!
The Waves are too WILD this Week!!

7. The waves are TOO big and wild! The ocean surf was too high for us to boogie-board or swim this week. Only the hardiest, most skilled surfers are braving these wild waves and rip tides. Stand-Up Paddle Boarding is definitely out! We don't even have a way to haul the board to the beach now that our golf cart usage has been curtailed. No ocean time for us this week!
The Neighbor Boys "Making Music" in the Street was Cute at First...

8. The NOISE! The dogs barking at every unfamiliar passerby, the neighbor boys playing their homemade drum set and trumpets all afternoon until they are called in for dinner (whew!), the roosters crowing because the sun is getting ready to set (that can't be right, can it?), and the loudspeakers blaring from trucks selling everything from mattresses to shrimp. Didn't I recently call this the "music of Mexico" and say that I miss it when we aren't here? This week it just makes me grumpy to hear the boys play their drums for hours!
Fresh Strawberries for Breakfast Again?

9. Where are the mangoes? Why aren't there any mangoes or blueberries in the markets? I am tired of eating the same fresh fruit with my homemade yogurt and granola every morning: bananas, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, oranges, mandarins, grapes, and apples. OK, granted, all of the fruit we get here is picked ripe so everything is tastier and juicier than any we've had in the U.S. So what is my problem?
DONALD TRUMP'S WALL! Is He Crazy?
10. Donald Trump's crazy behavior! I blame all of my grumpiness this week on Donald Trump's behavior! How can this wall be for real? It is insane! The more I read about it, the more upset I become. The peaceful relationship between Mexico and the U.S. is being disrupted more each day. I worry for the Mexicans on both sides of the border. I wonder if the wall will disrupt our own travel between these two countries. Trump's insanity is making me feel crazy!

OK. STOP!

THAT'S ENOUGH OF MY "POOR ME" WHINING!

IF THESE ARE MY BIGGEST PROBLEMS, LIVING IN MEXICO IS STILL PARADISE!

IT'S ALL IN THE ATTITUDE! I NEED AN ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, STARTING NOW!

     Life anywhere, even in paradise, has it's downsides and bad days. For me, when I'm feeling grumpy, that means it's time to get out a post-it note and write myself a list of a minimum of three things I am going to accomplish today. This always gives me a feeling of purpose and gets me back on track, enjoying today for what it is, and appreciating the beauty of living in Mexico.
      Since I whined about ten "poor me" things, I guess I better get a larger piece of paper for my list and give myself a week to achieve these goals. It needs to include ten positive things I can do. I live in paradise after all. There are so many positives in Mexico, it's all in the attitude and what you see when you look around. Making my list of ten things I will accomplish in the coming week will be the start of my attitude adjustment!
Riding Our Bikes to Take 2 Loads of Laundry to the Lavandaria

1. Ride our bikes and walk more! We may not have a car or the use of our golf cart any longer, but that just means we will be getting more exercise. We retired in a small town for a reason--so we could walk almost anywhere we want to go. Now we'll just ride our bikes more, too. It's time to take two loads of dirty laundry to the lavanderia, each bike loaded with a bag. Riding home, uphill, each bike will be loaded with a bag of clean clothes. Plus, we can pick up a few heavy groceries while we have our wheels--a few bottles of wine, a carton of milk, and some fruit should fill the saddle bags. That sure gives our legs a good work-out! One thing we learned from that first trip to town on the rough cobblestone road: we now wear our bike helmets every time we ride!
Fitbit® Charge 2 Is Available in Mexico!

2. I can order a Fitbit® from Best Buy in Mexico and have FedEx deliver it! The Fitbit Charge 2 would be an upgraded model from the old one that I lost, tracking heart rate as well as distance walked and calories burned! Best Buy has it discounted this week to only $3299 pesos (about $157 US), so I can order it and have it delivered by FedEx in 3 to 5 days! I am ordering my new Fitbit® today!
Winter View from My Home Office

3. Winter days are so beautiful here in Mexico, I must take a photo of our yard this morning. Even in January, the view from my home office gives me the feeling that I am sitting in a tropical garden while I write. The morning sky is so blue and clear, an amazing contrast to the greens of the palm trees and the various pinks of the bougainvillea in our garden!
Zumba Is Not Only Fun & Good Exercise, It's a Social Event!

4. Send Facebook posts to my Zumba students and to "Sayulita People" groups, inviting them to join me for my next class. Six people came to my next Zumba class, including a nice man and woman from New Zealand who were trying Zumba for the first time! It was so much fun! A positive outlook makes everything more fun!
Tough Plaster and Paint Work Calls for an Expert!

5. Call the painter and get on his schedule! I asked Jon to call the painter since Jon speaks much more Spanish than I do, plus he's a retired building contractor and can "talk the talk". He wrote out our work list in Spanish so he could explain what we need painted. Painters are very busy during the dry season in Mexico so it is important to get on their schedule and then keep reminding them. Next week Jon will schedule some painting on our house. Fresh paint always makes me happy!
Clean, Sparkly Knick-Knacks Make Me Feel Better!

6. Wash the knick-knacks if the dust is bugging me so much! So I ran a sinkful of soapy water and got busy washing my pretty Mexican glasses and pottery and cleaning the unseen top of the refrigerator. First of all, polishing my treasures used up a good amount of my grumpy energy. Then I stood back and enjoyed their fresh, sparkly appearance. Ahhh, I felt my grumpiness leaving.
Time to Get Those Golf Clubs Out and Clean Them Up!

7. Get the golf clubs out and plan to play 9 holes at Field of Dreams golf course. The waves may be too wild right now, but the weather is perfect for golf! I got my golf clubs out to clean them and sent a facebook message to Campo de Ensueno Golf Club to ask if Tuesday was a good day for us to play and what the cost is. They messaged me back immediately that Tuesdays and Thursdays are men's days and the cost is 250 pesos (only about $12 US!). Thursday or Friday we can grab a cab and head out to hit some balls around the course. What a good way to lose some of my grumpy energy!
Turn on the Music & Practice Zumba at Home to Block Out the Noise

8. Turn on my Latin music and practice Zumba on our porch when the drumming starts. Not only does the lively music cover the noise of the drums, roosters, and barking dogs, the dancing and exercise helps my grumpiness disappear. I finish an hour of Zumba feeling rejuvenated and happy to live here! The barrio sounds have become the "music of Mexico" to my ears again.
Woody Woodpecker Came to Visit This Morning

9. Make a fruit smoothie of fresh, sweet pineapple cubes, bananas, and my homemade yogurt and sip it while sitting in the sun on our upstairs terrace. The sun warms us as we gently rock in our porch swing and watch the jungle trees for tropical birds. Woodie Woodpecker settled into the mango tree to peck a rotten limb for bugs. His incredibly red head flashed brilliantly scarlet when the sun danced off his feathers, making me smile and forget that I was grumpy about not having mangoes for breakfast. We'll walk to town later and buy something new and exotic for breakfast, maybe passion fruit or star fruit. Mangoes will be in season soon!
Gardening Eliminates my Grumpiness! (What is this Pretty Plant?)

10. Focus on the many enjoyable things available to us here in Mexico and quit reading about that maniac running the United States into the ground and his horrible wall. I will make plans this week to do fun things in the next month. I have no influence over the insane things Trump does that make me grumpy, so no more focusing on him. But I can plan activities that remind me how much I enjoy living in Mexico. Here are a few things I have planned that will eliminate any residual grumpiness I had from reading about "The Wall":

  • Make a Mexi-trek reservation for a hike to Monkey Mountain
  • Make a reservation to see the Brittany Kingery Show in Puerto Vallarta and go out for a nice dinner to celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary and Valentine's Day.
  • Take a walk with our backpack chairs to the beach, sit in the sun, and let Bella dig in the sand while we watch the surfers.
  • Plant a new flower in the garden and appreciate the many beautiful colors that surround us, even in January.
  • Splurge on Sunday Brunch and watching a polo match at La Patrona Equestrian Center and Polo Club in San Pancho.
Lo de Marcos Beach is a Tranquil Place--A Little Piece of Paradise!
Mexico really is a little piece of paradise. We chose to retire in Sayulita, but enjoy visiting Puerto Vallarta and other small beach towns in the state of Nayarit. We are happy to have retired here.
"Retirement Before the Age of 59: Healthy Living in Mexico #2" eBook
To read more about our decision to retire in Mexico, take a look at my newest eBook, now available on Amazon worldwide! You, too, may find your little piece of paradise south of the border. Here is the link on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NCMWMJL

Sunday, January 22, 2017

12 LESSONS WE ARE LEARNING FROM THE LOCALS WHILE LIVING IN MEXICO

When in México, Do as the Mexicans Do

Waiting in Line at WaKiKa Ice Cream Stand Requires Patience!
     By now, we have lived in México long enough that we have learned some important lessons from the locals about how to live here in harmony with their way of life. We don’t always get it right, but with a little more practice, we hope our behavior will help us blend in with the Mexican culture. The primary thing we try to keep in mind at all times is to remain calm, unhurried, tranquilo, as the Mexicans say. We have learned so much from the Mexicans about living a simpler, more peaceful life. Some things we have learned do not translate to the way things are done in the United States and seemed humorous or silly to us at first, until we slowly began to understand the Mexican way of thinking. Some foreigners say you will never truly understand the Mexican way of thinking. It’s best to simply accept the way things are in México, not to try to understand the reason. Trying to figure it out would only frustrate a person raised north of the border.

1. How to wait in line at the grocery store or WaKiKa ice cream stand in Sayulita like a local, patiently, without showing any annoyance about the long wait. Even better, wait calmly without feeling annoyance. The line may not even resemble a line, but rather a gathering of people around the cashier’s counter, but your turn will come eventually, when someone motions you forward. Delays may include a story that the cashier is telling a customer, a customer who leaves the line to go pick up another item or two in the store while the cashier is halfway finished ringing his order, a vendor who is delivering a tote of tortillas to the store and gives it to the busy cashier, or a bunch of kids who just popped in to buy their bags of chips and drinks after school and pushed to the front of the “line” to pay. No one says a word, sighs in exasperation, grumbles under their breath, or shows a sign of irritation on their face. Everyone is calm and patient, silently waiting their turn to pay for their groceries. What a peaceful way to go through the day.

This is just a taste of today's blog article. To continue reading this article, click the following link: 
Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico: 12 LESSONS WE ARE LEARNING FROM THE LOCALS WHILE LIVING IN MEXICO 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A CHALLENGE OF LIVING IN MEXICO: The FIRST UPS Delivery to Our Home!

But Not by the UPS Man!

My Package From the United States Was Delivered!
     Not everything is easy, living in Mexico. Receiving mail, or not, while living in Mexico causes me to have mixed feelings. The mailman just doesn't come to our house in Sayulita, though I have seen a "Correos" (national mail service) delivery guy sitting on his motorcycle at the corner, shuffling through a stack of Telmex bills. The only reason we received our Telmex internet bill on that unusual day was that we happened to be walking by at the time and asked him for it. We do get our CFE (electric bill) every two months, on schedule, because a CFE employee walks to every house in town to deliver the bills. He wedges our bill in a slot of our gate or between the meter and the wall. Our house number is spray-painted above the meter, but it's hidden behind a tree and no one sees it but the CFE meter-reader.
It's a Wonder Anyone Can Find Our House Number

     Besides those two bills, we don't get ANY snail-mail! I love it that junk mail will never find us again, since we started using our mail forwarding service, travelingmailbox.com. They scan every envelope they receive, after it is forwarded from our U.S. post office box, and then email it to us. If we request to see the contents, they open, scan, and email each page to us. It's great!
     But what do we do if we want to order something from the United States to be shipped to our home? We have seen the UPS truck and the DHL van in Sayulita, so we know they deliver here. But, would they ever find our home, tucked away in the barrio, a Mexican neighborhood? The home addressing system in Mexico is hodge-podge with no logical order, so it's no wonder the mailman can't deliver mail. The numbers progress along our side of the street from our house at 29A to 31, 199, 40, 136, 124, No Number, 31A, 30 and on in this random fashion. I began to think UPS would never find 29A! Some people rent a P.O. Box at a company called "Mail Boxes Etc." in Bucerias, but we just don't receive enough mail to make it worth the trouble or the $30 US or so per month it costs.
     I really wanted to order a "Zumba Fitness" banner through Zumba.com, but would it ever make it through customs and find its way to my home? Vistaprint, the banner service, claimed to ship to Mexico. The banner was only about $30 US plus shipping, bringing the total to about $60 US. I decided it was worth a test run. Now to label our house with an address marker that UPS could find.
Someday We'll Have a Pretty Mexican Tile Address Marker Like This!
     After living in our house in Sayulita for a year-and-a-half, we still had not put up one of those cute little Mexican tile address markers like the one above, with the number "29A". We have looked in every tile shop and souvenir shop in Sayulita and the Bucerias market with no luck. We could find a "2" and a "9" but not a matching "A", or a "2" and an "A" but no "9" in the same pattern. So, I printed up a big "29A" with our names on a sheet of paper and taped it on the wall outside our house. Surely, the UPS driver would see that!
Hoping the UPS Driver Could Find Our House With This Sign
     One day this week there was a loud knock on our gate and someone calling my name. Bella jumped from her nap in the sun, barking furiously to let me know someone was here! I opened the gate, hoping to see the UPS man, but NO! It was a man I didn't know, holding a package, who said he lived two blocks down our street. The UPS man had stopped at his house and asked him to sign for the package--apparently the UPS delivery guy wasn't going to hunt for #29A any longer. This nice man not only signed for my package, he went to the trouble of googling our address to find our house, walked up the street and knocked on our gate to hand-deliver it! He said it was a good thing that I had hung the typed address sign on our wall or he would not have found our house. You know you live in a small town when neighbors take care of each other this way!
Bella Napping in the Sun, Until a Knock at the Gate
     I was excited to open my package and see if my Zumba poster had survived its journey, especially since the end of the box was a little scrunched. It was obvious that it had been opened and checked by Mexican Customs at the border, but it was nicely repackaged and unharmed. I hung it up in our yard for a while to let it uncurl, getting it ready to hang on the wall the next morning at the Sayulita Casa de la Cultura where I teach Zumba Class! Life is exciting living in small town, Mexico!
My Zumba fitness Banner Arrived Unscathed; Uncurling in Our Yard 
     To read more about our life-changing move to Mexico, check out my newest eBook available on Amazon at this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NCMWMJL
Retirement Before the Age of 59: Healthy Living in Mexico #2

Monday, December 19, 2016

The eBook, "Retirement Before the Age of 59", is Now Available on Amazon Worldwide!

eBook: Retirement Before the Age of 59:
Healthy Living in Mexico #2
     My new eBook is now available on Amazon. Click this link to take a Look Inside and purchase it:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NCMWMJL

It is also available to borrow for free on Kindle Unlimited. 

Here is a brief description of the book. I hope you enjoy it!

     Terry and Jon found a way to escape the rat race, retire early, and to make their money go farther. This story will inspire others to quit their jobs, retire earlier rather than later, and begin living a healthier life, while having more fun and doing what they enjoy. Why wait?
     Making the decision to retire early was the easy part. Deciding where to retire took more travel in their motorhome and lots of thought. The process of selling and giving away their excess possessions so they could begin living a simplified, healthier life was a journey in itself.
     Terry and Jon’s adventures while traveling in their motorhome are enough to entice one to go RV shopping immediately. Their decision to move to México may seem radical to some, but others may soon consider doing the same thing! The story of where they settled in México, and why, will make you wonder how soon you, too, will begin planning a similar escape from the chaos in the world to find your own piece of paradise in the sun.

5-Star Reviews are coming in! Here is one from Andrew Hallam, author, posted on Amazon.ca:
A few years ago, I read International Living's Guide To Retiring Overseas On A Budget. I was fascinated. Retirees in low cost locales could live well on a fraction of what the typical stateside American does. Terry Turrell's book breathes life into this decision. She described herself as overworked, stressed, under-exercised and living on a financial precipice in Oregon, despite the fact that she and her husband worked hard and invested diligently in their IRAs and their real estate investments. The financial crisis in 2008/2009 nearly tossed them over the edge. They sold properties at a loss as their equity values plunged. Their dream of early retirement was slipping away....until they decided to think outside the box.

This story is personal. It shows how one couple tossed conventional wisdom to the wind. They de-cluttered their lives, sold what they didn't need and bought a RV to travel the U.S. and Mexico. Their personal account of Mexico is fascinating. Eventually they decided to retire there. Their account of why they chose Sayulita over a series of other popular retirement locations is both personal and fascinating. They retired early and built a far healthier lifestyle. I kept thinking of the great book, Younger Next Year. Well...here's a couple that I think epitomises that message. Terry's story is an inspiration that's also filled with wisdom.

If you enjoy my book, I would greatly appreciate it if you leave a brief review on Amazon. Thank you for reading my books and blogs.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

After Years of Fun Zumba Classes, I'm Going to Be a Zumba Instructor!

Now that I'm Retired, I Have Time to Teach Zumba!
I have written my "Zumba Mexico!" blog since January 2014, almost three years! I can hardly believe it! That's when I fell in love with Zumba as "Exercise in Disguise" and came up with the wild idea of traveling around Mexico in our motorhome, attending Zumba classes in each town we visited. My husband, Jon, being the good sport that he is, agreed to this crazy, fun adventure. 
We met so many great people throughout Mexico, including Zumba Instructors and other Zumba students, as enthusiastic about Zumba as I am. I learned many fun Latin dances, even managing to get my hips to move. That's a real challenge for a gringa!

I continued to attend Zumba classes at the YMCA when we were back in the United States and even helped start a Zumba Gold class at Mountain Meadows Retirement Community in Ashland, Oregon. It was so great to get the seniors moving in a new way and having fun. I knew Zumba would always be my preferred fitness class. But I never thought I would become a Zumba Instructor. I was inspired and motivated by some of my Instructors who are older than I am and still teaching Zumba. I realize now that you are never too old to do Zumba, and never to old to teach it! Now that I'm retired, I have time to teach and attend other Instructor's Zumba classes, as well!
I am Proud to Have Earned by License at the Age of 60!
In September I decided to take the Zumba Instructor Basic Training and received by Official Zumba Instructor License! The class was grueling, and that was just the beginning. I have been working hard to perfect my music playlist and choreography. Next week I will begin teaching Zumba in Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico!

You will now find my class schedule and information on www.Zumba.com when you search for Instructors or classes in Sayulita.  My Zumba website is www.TerryTurrell.Zumba.com. I am excited to be part of the ZIN Network, working hard to improve my Zumba knowledge and skill. 

Don't forget to check out my eEook on Amazon.com. It describes our travels around Mexico and most of the Zumba classes we attended. You can take a look at my eBook "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" by clicking HERE 
"Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" eBook

Sunday, October 23, 2016

“Winter Blues”, SAD, Clinical Depression, Bi-Polar? Another Reason to Retire Early...

...and Go Find Sunshine!

Sunshine at Mar Rosa RV Park, Mazatlan

     “Winter Blues”, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is “a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly in winter”, according to Wikipedia. SAD is an accepted medical diagnosis, with symptoms of depression and anxiety that recur annually, usually during the short, dark winter months. The prevalence increases in more northerly areas with Florida having an incidence of about 2% and Alaska having an incidence of about 10%. A major contributing factor is low sunlight exposure due to dark winter skies, shortened daylight hours, and too much time spent indoors. My conclusion is that living south of Florida may likely decrease the incidence of SAD to near zero.
Preparing to Leave Those Gray Days of Oregon

     When the gray skies and cold, rainy weather in Oregon start in October each year, I feel the stirrings of dread. As the dark days continue day after day into November, I begin feeling down. The number of hours of daylight decreases bit by bit each day, until the Winter Solstice in December marks the shortest day of the year, with only nine hours of daylight in Oregon, which contributes to my mental doldrums. I crave sunshine, warmth, and more daylight hours. I have found, as have others, that spending time in sunny, warm climates with longer daylight hours helps battle the lethargy and mild depression that can occur during the winter.
A Recent Healthy Dose of Sunshine in Tranquil Lo de Marcos, Mexico
     The December days are significantly longer south of the border than in the United States, with over 11 hours from sunrise to sunset in much of México. In contrast, Oregon has about 9 hours of daylight from sunrise to sunset in December. Farther north than Oregon, the winter days get even shorter. In Calgary, Alberta there are 8 hours of daylight in December. In Fairbanks, Alaska, there are only 4 hours of daylight in December, with the sun setting before 3:00 in the afternoon! No wonder people get the winter blues! The longer hours of daylight and the blue skies in México lift our spirits. We long to escape the dreary gray skies of Oregon and the short winter days with fewer hours of daylight!
     Jon also experiences depression during the winter months, a more severe form that sometimes begins in early November and lasts into May. For six months of every year, beginning in the year 1999, he has battled the depression curse. By utilizing all of the medical recommendations, including sufficient Vitamin D levels from sunshine providing ultraviolet light through the skin and by taking Vitamin D supplements, increased fish in the diet and higher doses of fish oil supplements (9600 mg per day of fish oil), and increased physical activity, he is usually able to to decrease the length and severity of his recurring depression. Increased full-spectrum light exposure has been shown to improve the symptoms of depression for many people. Jon used a special full-spectrum lightbox at this office desk for years as part of his treatment plan. But, we began to think, why not go where the sun shines most of the year, spend more time outdoors, and get the sunlight naturally? Retiring in México began to sound better all the time.
A Recent Dose of Sunshine at the Sayulita Trailer Park, Mexico
     This was one of the main reasons that Jon and I first began traveling in our motorhome to México each winter. We started with a three-week trip to San Felipe in Baja, California just to get a feel for crossing the Mexican border. Each winter we spent a week more in México, exploring more of Baja, and then discovered we preferred mainland México. The year we spent six weeks in México, we discovered that Mazatlán was a wonderful place to be in the winter, the sunshine and warmth giving us a real mental lift. The next winter we spent three healthy months in México and began to think about how we could live there during the six winter months each year. Once we started spending six months each year in México, we didn’t want to go back to the U.S.
     What started out as our treatment plan for the “Winter Blues” turned into thoughts of retiring early. My retirement before the age of 59 would allow us to move to México and become residents there. We could stay as long as we wanted, soaking up the ultraviolet rays and enjoying the longer days of sunshine year around, along with living a much less stressful life, which really helps our mental health!
     Take a look at my eBook, "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico", available at Amazon.com by clicking: HERE
"Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" eBook