Staying fit, healthy, and happy over the dark winter months can be challenging. Many people will find this year even harder than usual, especially if they cannot see their friends and family as much as usual and face periods of isolation.
In the winter, when it’s cold, it’s so easy to fall into bad habits. Motivation can slip as we hide away from the bad weather, it’s easy to reach for comfort foods and avoid exercise, and most of us just want to hibernate until spring. But these bad habits can quickly start to affect our health and wellbeing. You might find that you catch more colds and other bugs, that your mood suffers, and that the winter blues become part of day-to-day life. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that you can do to boost your wellbeing, even when the weather is at its worst.
Refuel on the Right Foods
After a busy day in the cold, it can be hard to find the motivation to cook a nutritious meal, and when you are running around Christmas shopping or working, it’s all too easy to grab a quick, sugary snack to boost your energy levels.
But this isn’t the right way to refuel. Sugary snacks and comfort food might feel good for a while, but they can leave you feeling sluggish, bloated, and fighting off a big energy slump.
Instead of eating junk food, try to refuel on the right foods. Eat the rainbow with lots of fruits and vegetables as well as complex carbs and high-protein snacks. If you do need a sugar boost, reach for the fruit bowl, not the biscuit tin.
We know that hydration is important in the summer when it’s very hot and easy to dehydrate. But this can also be a problem in the winter, especially if you work out outside and your body has to work harder to keep warm.
While hot coffees can be warming and comforting, they can make it harder to hydrate, so make sure you are also drinking plenty of water throughout the day and with meals.
Say No to Festive Stress
Festive stress can have a significant effect on your wellbeing before the holidays. Around now, you might be panicking about everything that you have left to do, the lists of gifts you need to buy, and all the other jobs you want to get done before the big day. This stress can take a toll on your physical and mental health and mean that you don’t fully get to enjoy the holidays.
Say no to festive stress by having a simpler holiday. Buy gifts for fewer people, create a budget that you can stick to, and cheat as much as you can with prepared vegetables and prewrapped gifts.
Forget the January Diet
Another big cause of stress in the winter is the big post-Christmas diet. In January, we’re surrounded by offers and deals on healthy foods and gym membership. Everywhere we look, people are talking about their diet and exercise programs, and it’s easy to put pressure on yourself.
Stop. It’s okay to gain weight over the holidays. You will lose it when you go back to your usual balanced diet, and it doesn’t matter if it takes a while. Go easier on yourself and develop healthy habits instead of relying on crash diets.
Don’t underestimate the restorative power of a good self-care session. Whether it’s 10 minutes reading a book and enjoy a quiet cuppa or a long, relaxing soak in the bath, it can do wonders for your mood and mental health.
Try to fit in a little self-care every day, and a longer pamper session whenever you can. If you are looking to save some money, stop paying full price and look for great deals on health and wellbeing essentials.
Even when it’s cold, there are many benefits to spending time outdoors. Being in nature, even for a short walk, can boost your mood, increase your energy levels, and help you gain perspective. Go outside for a little every day, and try to go out for long walks or runs on those dry fresh days.
Make Time for Regular Exercise
There’s a whole host of benefits to exercise, and it can have a tremendously positive effect on your health and wellbeing. Sometimes, you have to force yourself, especially in winter, but you’ll always feel better after a workout.
Create a Feel-Good Morning Routine
Your morning routine has a big impact on how you feel for the rest of the day. Start the day repeatedly hitting snooze or reaching for your phone as soon as you open your eyes and you set the tone for the day. Instead, create a healthy routine with some morning stretches, a quick shower, and a healthy breakfast.
Create a Sleep Haven
Your night-time routine is equally important. Take a look at your bedroom. Does it encourage sleep? If not, make some changes. Declutter, remove technology and add calming colors like lavender and light blue. You could also upgrade your bedding and get the temperature right.
Staying healthy and happy over winter can be harder. But, with a few positive changes to your routine and mindset, you can enjoy a happy winter filled with fun and adventure.
Jessica Peters is a freelance writer from Melbourne who blogs about health and fitness. Jessica is an avid traveler and regularly crosses the globe to learn about other cultures while blogging from her laptop.