Winter is coming, and it will bring colder temperatures and shorter days. While the holiday season can be fun, the darker days leave many of us feeling sluggish and sedate.
Fortunately, there are ways to exercise your mind and your body so your overall happiness won't dive during the colder months.
The good news about exercising in winter is that there is less heat and humidity. The bad news is it's cold. Add in snow and rain and many of us lose our desire to leave our homes and get active. Though snuggling under a blanket with coffee may be all you want to do, it's better to find ways to stay moving all year long. Here are a few things to try:
- Put on multiple layers and walk around your neighborhood. Intentionally notice how different your familiar area looks in the winter.
- Bike instead of drive
- Try winter sports such as skiing or ice skating
If exercising outside is an absolute no for you when it's cold, look for ways to stay active indoors. The following will keep you moving:
- Sign up for a hot yoga class so you can mindfully move your body while working up a sweat.
- Swim in an indoor pool while you wait for the summer sun to return.
- Invest in weights to use at home so you can lift daily.
Figure out a way to keep moving because it has profound benefits for your mental and physical health.
Eat Seasonal Foods
So many of the foods we associate with winter are packed with sugar and laced with unhealthy fat. It's normal to indulge during the holidays, but it's wise to spend most of the winter months eating seasonal foods that will nourish your body. These foods are often rich in vitamins and may help you fight off the winter blues. Popular foods that are in season in winter include:
- Brussel sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
Challenge yourself to incorporate an item of produce that is in season in at least three meals a week. This will have the added benefit of giving you time in the kitchen to slow down and enjoy the smell and taste of winter.
You don't have to wait until the new year to set goals for yourself. Fall and winter are excellent times to focus on achieving things you didn't accomplish throughout the year. The cooler weather can slow us down and help us zero in on who we want to be and how to get there. Some great goals for cold weather may include:
- Writing a sentence of gratitude daily
- Hiking in nature daily
- Connecting with friends in person twice a week
- Trying a new spot to get coffee or have a meal
- Reading a certain number of books before spring
Embrace the Season
In the depths of the colder months, most of us yearn to see the first spring leaf emerge. However, we can miss the lessons of the season if we spend the whole time wishing it away. Focus on embracing the season you find yourself in, and apply this to your inner life as well.
The cold months are perfect for starting a meditation practice that grounds you at the moment. After pulling yourself from underneath your warm sheets, light a candle and spend some time simply focusing on your breath. Living in the present is one of the best ways to boost your happiness, and meditation helps you do this.
A few other ideas to help you slow down and simply be include:
- Slow eating
You can have goals and embrace the moment at the same time. It's all about finding the right balance.
Most of us don't get as much time in the sun when it's cold outside. Make sure you keep your immune system strong by taking the right supplements for your body. Vitamin D can boost your mental health and keep your bones strong. Vitamin C can help your immune system fight off seasonal viruses that may be going around. Take these consistently for the best results. Don't let the colder months leave you feeling blue. Take care of your mind, body, and spirit all year long.