Many of us resist winter. It’s dark, cold and let’s face it, winter can be downright depressing. Like the Earth, our bodies and minds naturally gravitate towards restoration and an overall slower pace of life during the winter months, yet society demands we continue the same dizzying pace we maintained during the warmer weather months of spring and summer. It’s no wonder 3 million Americans experience bouts of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
During winter, many of us tend to retreat indoors and go into hibernation mode, which can hinder our health and wellness goals. Who wants to head to the gym for a workout when you can hunker down inside with a plate of Christmas cookies? This year, don’t let the winter season hinder your health and wellness. Instead, consider these ten winter wellness tips to help you embrace the winter season.
#1 Follow the Light
Even though our exposure to natural light is limited during the winter months, embrace natural light as much as you can, especially first thing in the morning. This signals the start of the day to your body, essentially energizing and preparing you for the day ahead. You may even consider moving your evening workout to earlier in the day so you can see the light – literally!
#2 Stay Active
Besides changing the time of day you workout, you may want to consider changing up your workout routine. Embrace lower impact activities that more fully align with the slow, restorative pace of the winter months, activities like walking, stretching and yoga are all great options. Don’t be afraid to head outdoors either. Just five minutes of exposure to the crisp winter air can bolster your energy levels, mood and overall well-being.
#3 Drink Warm Fluids
It’s easy to stay hydrated during the hot summer months when temperatures and humidity levels are high, but staying hydrated during the bitter cold winter months can prove challenging. Instead of reaching for chilled water, try sipping on warm fluids throughout the course of the day. Sip on a cup of tea or make a mug of homemade bone broth or your favorite winter soup.
#4 Enjoy Hearty Comfort Foods
As the seasons shift, so should our diets. Our bodies crave foods when it’s cold outside, so discover recipes that provide nourishment and comfort. Focus not just on feeding your body, but also feeding your soul. This will not only provide sustenance for your body, but internal warmth and satisfaction for your heart and soul.
#5 Avoid Overindulging
Winter brings with it the holidays and where there is a joyful celebration there is usually celebratory food. Don’t let exposure be an excuse to abandon your health and wellness goals with pure and utter abandon. Instead, plan accordingly! Pack healthy snacks like nuts and seeds so you always have a healthy snack on hand. When eating at a holiday event, try opting for smaller plating options to help you eat smaller portions. Of course it’s perfectly alright to indulge in your favorite holiday foods and sweet treats, just do so mindfully!
#6 Just Say No
The holidays are incredibly busy time of year. Besides normal everyday work calendars and social obligations, invitations from family, friends and neighbors inundate inboxes and mailboxes alike, so be mindful of what events are necessary and fulfilling. Don’t be afraid to politely pass on an invitation or two so you don’t feel so overextended during the already busiest time of year.
#7 Be Happy Hibernating
The festive holiday season tends to be the time of year when most of us give more of ourselves to others, but don’t forget to give back to yourself. Just like animals, we need time to rest, restore and recharge before the warmer months ahead. Give yourself a break from your busy schedule and crazy calendar to unwind and relax this winter. By embracing moments of rest, you are truly honoring the theme of the winter season. Your body and mind will thank you, plus you will have more energy come the holidays!
#8 Engage in Self-Reflection
While you snuggle inside and enjoy moments of winter hibernation, get centered and take some time for self-reflection. Look inward towards yourself and take a moment to take an inventory of where you presently find yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You may even consider using the slower winter months to adopt a daily meditation practice, which can help increase your awareness, energy, focus and patience as we transition into a new year.
#9 Set Intentions
The season of winter naturally brings us to a place of contemplation, but it also reminds us new opportunities are right around the corner. While you are self-reflecting, list a few goals for the New Year and create actionable steps to support the fulfillment of your goals.
Winter only comes around once a season, so embrace all that it has to offer. Each season is different and offers a unique set of opportunities so enjoy this time with loved ones, and most importantly, yourself.
Meet The Author:
Ashley Martens is a Health and Wellness Writer based in Chicago, IL. With a background in digital marketing coupled with her knowledge of general nutrition and a lifelong passion for all things health, wellness, fitness and nutrition, Ashley offers a healthy alternative to traditional writing. You can learn more about Ashley and her writing over at her blog, Three to Five a Day.