When the cold weather sets in, going to the gym and staying healthy can be tough. I love my daily dose of sunshine, and when we get a week or more of consecutive gray skies and cold temps, getting motivated to move can be a challenge. Fortunately, this Georgia girl gets glimpses of sun throughout the winter, but for all my friends in the northern states, winter is here for another 8 weeks. (I used to live in Pittsburgh and didn't realize how gray it was or how it effected me emotionally until I moved south.)Unfortunately, when the weather is really cold, some innocent habits can become a bad routine and your body will NOT thank you for it come spring.
For many, winter means snuggling up under a blanket in front of a warm fire binge watching your favorite netflix shows and sipping on hot chocolate while shoving buttery popcorn in your mouth. Not the end of the world if it happens every couple of weeks, but a bad problem if it happens every night. Or, maybe you order takeout on the weekend and before you know it, you're ordering 3 times throughout the week because you were snowed in or simply too cold to get out of the car and get healthy ingredients from the grocery store. And let's not forget the early morning workouts!! You may innocently skip your early morning workout because the kids have a snow day, but before you know it, you are skipping more and more (I mean it’s so gloomy and dark out) and eventually your activity level dwindles and becomes almost nonexistent. This winter, Let's put that lazy routine to rest. Here are a few things you can do now to get you through the final stretch until spring and help you bust out of that winter funk.
Get together with friends
It can be tempting to hole up under a blanket every weekend watching television or reading, but spending time with friends and family can be a fun mood booster. Invite a few people over for a casual dinner or meet up at a local park for a chilly, but invigorating, walk. If you usually like to workout in the morning and find yourself having a hard time getting out of bed, an accountability partner (or 3-4) is one of the BEST things you can do for yourself to get you out of your rut.
Try something new
Winter is a great time to experiment with a new workout or hobby that can help you break out of a rut. Try a new home improvement project (there's nothing better than a can of paint to transform your space), or sign up for an art class. When it comes to exercise, I love to mix things up seasonally. Try swimming at an indoor pool, or take a few barre or pilates classes to challenge your body in different ways. I recently bought a yoga wheel and have been having fun trying new moves on it to improve strength and flexibility. Mixing up your workouts will keep you from plateauing AND prevent boredom which will prevent you from falling off the workout wagon.
You’ve likely heard this many times before, but exercising and moving more can really help improve your mood! When you move your body, you will naturally be motivated to DO MORE!! Plus, exercising will motivate you to eat better. On the contrary, when you are sedentary, comfort food seems to call your name. Remember this......inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.
Take care of yourself
If you’re not feeling your best physically, your mood will follow. Be proactive to avoid getting sick. Wash your hands often, drink your kefir and take your probiotics (a healthy gut will keep you healthy). Sipping warm lemon water in the morning will balance your ph which again, will keep you healthy. Disease and illness thrives in an acidic environment, so keeping your ph balanced is critical to staying healthy. You can also add seasonal fruits or vegetables to your diet like oranges, grapefruits, pomegranates, squash to keep your meal plan fun and exciting. I loooooooooove making a super healthy soup at the beginning of the week that will keep me warm and provide my body with tons of nutrients that boost my immune system.
Dream of sunshine
Do the dark days of winter make you want to hibernate indoors and pig out on comfort foods until spring? You may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year, usually in winter. Other symptoms include fatigue, lack of interest, inability to concentrate, and irritability. If you find yourself mildly depressed in the winter months, try sitting near a window, opening the blinds and letting the sunshine in. Being stuck inside is also the perfect time to start researching your spring or summer vacation. Make a wish list and keep an eye out for great deals. Having a trip to look forward to can help you power through the rest of winter. Plus, envisioning yourself in a bathing suit in a few months will help you avoid over indulging in too much comfort food.