Tips for staying healthy inside and out during the colder months of the year, so that you can not just survive, but thrive!
Winter is in full swing, with the excitement of some holidays in the past, and the promise of snow ever present. The cold temperatures give us a welcome excuse to indulge in some baked goods, curl up by the fire with a warm cup of tea, and snuggle up with our fluffiest of blankets.
But they also bring a shift in how our minds and bodies function in relation to the wintriness. Undoubtedly, winter is full of magical moments, but this shift can be a challenging adjustment, for some more than others, and can pose increased difficulty on staying balanced physically, mentally and emotionally.
While January announces the start of a fresh new year, it also marks the remaining three months of winter ahead of us (for those of us in the North, that is!). We understand that this can be a daunting prospect for many, and that’s why today we’re talking about showing ourselves a bit of extra compassion as our bodies and minds adjust to the chilly temperatures, and exploring mindful ways to thrive through the season.
Have patience for your body
On one hand, low temperatures activate our digestive systems, generally increasing hunger. On the other hand, the lack of warmth and decrease of sunshine often diminishes motivation to be physically active. Reduced sunshine intake from the shortened days can make it harder for our bodies to get the restorative, deep sleep we need, leaving us feeling extra tired, even if we’re sleeping just as much as, if not more than, usual.
Add to that the increasing need for social distancing during this period of COVID-19, and it’s pretty easy to understand why our bodies and emotions may be having a difficult time keeping up right now.
Sometimes just the realization that our bodies are experiencing these added challenges can go a long way to relieving stress and frustration. If you’re feeling a bit more tired than normal, or aren’t as physically motivated as usual, know that you’re not alone, and it’s important to show our bodies patience and kindness while they do their best to adjust to the changes in temperature and sunshine.
Thankfully, there are certain things you can do to help yourself along the way to turn what were once dreary winter days into mindful moments of self care, rest, and restoration!
Mind your D’s
When it comes to feeling extra tired there are a few natural and easily accessible ways to help yourself with that. As previously mentioned, lower amounts of sunshine intake can directly affect our ability to get deep restorative sleep since it’s related to our levels of vitamin D (and less sunshine means less vitamin D).
One way to help balance your level of vitamin D is through what you eat. Some vitamin D rich foods include salmon, egg yolks, and mushrooms. You can find a list of more foods that are high in vitamin D here.
Mind your Z’s
Creating a bedtime routine can also help you wake up feeling more refreshed the next morning.
This could be drinking a cup of caffeine-free tea 20 mins before bed, meditating, or whatever simple activity that helps you wind down. A routine signals to your body that the time to sleep is approaching, which can reduce stress and make it easier to fall asleep. In turn, this can make it easier for your body to get into a deep, restorative sleep.
The key here is to keep your routine set at a specific time and consistently repeat the same action each evening before bed. Another idea for your routine could be giving yourself this gentle, relaxing face massage.
Often we don’t realize how seldom we go out once the cold weather arrives. Even though it’s chilly, it’s super important not only to keep moving and get some rays of sunshine, but also to give our lungs a nice scoop of fresh air regularly, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Plus, every winter is different, putting on a unique nature display each year, which is worth taking time to admire.
Find a fitness buddy
Choosing to stay regularly physically active during these cold months is one of the best ways to help your physical and mental self retain a stable balance.
To give yourself a touch of encouragement and offer some encouragement to another, find a fitness accountability buddy.
Finding someone to check in with who will celebrate the efforts you make to stay healthy, and help keep you accountable, can do wonders for your motivation to keep moving!
Make moments of relaxation
As a healthy balance to all the effort it takes to stay active and go out for fresh air, it’s also important to set aside intentional moments of rest and recuperation, or as we like to say, time to tea-lax 😉
When it’s preferable to stay comfortable and warm at home, we tend to find ourselves spending more time lounging around, but often just to pass the time. But this often causes us to miss out on finding that feeling of being truly replenished and relaxed. Taking an intentional moment to relax could mean five minutes, fifteen, or fifty.
Whether it involves a hot bubble bath, a little yoga, or just sipping a cup of tea, the important thing is that you know that this moment is especially for YOU and the replenishment of your beautiful self.
Focus on you
Since for many of us, winter means spending more time at home, it can be a great opportunity to take advantage of the increased down-time to turn your energy inward and give yourself a break from channeling so much energy outward.
In the words of Edith Sitwell, “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is time for home.” You could use this season to finish a project that holds personal significance for you, start writing a gratitude journal, take some counselling sessions with a therapist, or cook at that recipe you’ve always wanted to try.
Rather than thinking about winter as just a time to get through, make a conscious decision to invest these winter moments in yourself, which is always a worthwhile investment!
We hope this article has highlighted how this season is a beautiful gift to reconnect with, and nurture, yourself.
May your winter be full of thriving moments ❤️
Leave a comment below to let us know what you thought, and how you plan to spend the rest of your winter!