It can be easy to feel less than our best selves during winter. The shorter days make us feel more tired and rundown. The cold weather makes squeezing in that pre- or post-work jog less appealing. Add the stress that comes along with the holidays and pressure to make the most of New Year’s resolutions, and it’s easy to see why the winter blues are so prevalent. Though it may take a little creativity and a little extra motivation, there are ways to make sure we stay healthy, mind, body, and soul, all winter long. Here are a few helpful tips for doing so:
Take a quick break from reality. Sometimes changing your surroundings can give you the jolt you need to take action improving the areas of your life where you might be struggling. So, grab your journal and some comfy clothes and take a little mini-vacation at a nearby hotel.
Even if it’s only for a night, getting out of the surroundings that are contributing to your stress gives you an opportunity to gain perspective, think over where you want to make changes, and get an action plan in place. And if you have a four-legged friend, bring them along, too. Our pets, especially dogs, are great for our physical and mental health, and there are many dog-friendly hotels that welcome furry guests. Here are few options from locations throughout the U.S.:
Keep exercising. During winter, when your alarm goes off in the morning, you’re probably more likely to hit snooze, opting to stay in your warm, cozy bed rather than gear up for a chilly morning run. First, know that that’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up over not being excited about jogging in 45-degree weather. But do figure out what you can motivate yourself to do in winter. Maybe it’s time to invest in some dumbbells or an exercise ball that you can use at home. Or maybe you and a friend can become winter workout buddies and hit the gym or local indoor pool together.
Exercise is, of course, essential for maintaining our physical health, but it is also an extremely important tool for maintaining our mental health. When you find what works for you, you’ll not only be physically healthier in winter, you’ll be taking steps to preventing winter blues as well.
Get creative. Because the days are shorter and we’re less likely to be called to the outdoors by a beautiful, warm sunny day, winter is actually the perfect time to explore your creativity or a passion you’ve been setting aside. Doing so will not only help you feel inspired and motivated, it could also help you out at work.
For example, perhaps you’ve been wanting to do a little creative writing. Take an online or night course this winter. You’ll be able to explore a subject area you’re passionate about while improving your writing and creative-thinking skills, which will pay off back at the office. Of course, there are many other ways to explore your creativity, from painting to carpentry to photography and beyond, just find something that’s of interest to you. Having this passion project will be a great way to keep a positive outlook throughout the cold winter months.
Get some sun. Vitamin D is essential for our physical health–it helps keep our bones and teeth strong–and our mental health–it can help improve mood. But because we’re exposed to less sunlight, which is a key provider of vitamin D, in winter, it can be difficult to get the amount we need to stay healthy. So, do find ways to get some sun exposure. Whether it’s spending an extra five minutes walking the dog or picking up leaves on the weekend, that time outdoors is essential for maintaining your overall health.
Winter definitely poses some challenges when it comes to maintaining our physical and mental health. But there are many great ways to keep our spirits and our bodies functioning well when cold weather sets in. Find what works for you and stick with it until spring.
Contributed by Jennifer Scott