With the cold weather slowly approaching, we all start to frantically pull out our fuzzy socks, cozy sweaters, and stretchy pants. We start getting ourselves ready for “hibernation mode”. Cold weather means staying inside, bundling up with comfy blankets, and drinking copious amounts of hot chocolate, with an abundance of marshmallows. Getting out of bed in the morning becomes more and more difficult as the temperature drops. Who enjoys getting out of a warm bed, to step on an icy cold floor to take a hot shower to then be forced to brace the bitter cold to get to work? I will answer that question for you…. no one! While the cold weather does bring great fashion, ultimate comfort clothes, and delicious hot beverages, it does NOT bring motivation.
Many believe the winter months are not a productive time, and some believe it can be a waste, but that is exactly the mindset that we need to focus on changing! If you read our last blog post about gratitude, you know that we need to practice seeing the positive aspects of the cards we are dealt, and cold weather happens to be one of those cards. Instead of dreading the “unproductive season” and wishing for it to end, let’s be thankful for what we have during this time. For example, in the winter you don’t have to mow your grass, you get to eat comfort food, you can enjoy winter exclusive activities, and you have a warm place to sleep at night. Appreciating all the gifts one is blessed with during the winter months might even encourage us to help those who are not as fortunate. While we get to sleep in our warm and comfy beds this winter, there are many people that are not fortunate enough to have the same comforts. Take a second to recognize how much we have to be grateful for and then consider doing something to helps others. A grateful attitude is the first step in staying motivated and productive throughout the colder months. And, a grateful attitude can help us avoid becoming a victim of the bitter, cold weather.
Spend time outside
Unfortunately, our lives do not stop for the colder months, we have to keep living. We can’t stay at home all day in the warmth of our bed, we still have to go to work and be productive. This means continuing our fitness routine, maintaining a balanced diet, staying focused and getting involved! This is much easier said than done, when it feels like it is negative thirty degrees outside and all you want to do is eat junk food and watch Netflix. Productivity and motivation tend to be low on the priority list when the cold sets in. And, while staying warm is usually the goal during the winter months, here is a counterintuitive piece of advice, be sure to spend more time outside in the bitter cold. Spending time in the fresh air is beneficial for our physical and mental health. Take advantage of all the sunny days we are given. Take the dogs on a nice walk, go to the park and read a book while sitting in the sun. Go on a jog. These small outings will help lessen the feeling of isolation winter months can bring. Spending a day outside can be especially important for those people who become vitamin D deficient due to lack of sunlight. When a beautiful sunny day presents itself, make it a point to spend some time outside!
Eat a balanced diet
It is very easy to pack on the pounds during the colder months, because, if we are honest here, who doesn’t love eating hardy comfort food when its cold outside? We must make a conscious effort to eat a balanced diet. We can certainly enjoy our comfort foods but use portion control when we do. We need to follow a nutrient-rich diet, that includes fruits and vegetables! We can also adapt and make new recipes that are lighter, healthier versions of classic comfort foods that we all know and love. All the taste with no guilt! When we eat better, our bodies feel better. It is all about balance!
Start a new work-out routine! The gym is an option but not a must! You can do at-home workouts, and don’t use not having weights as an excuse! You can use household objects in place of dumbbells! Your workouts don’t have to be intense training sessions, they just need to be something to get your body moving. Invest in warm workout gear so you can brave the elements. Working out is a mood booster. When you work out your body releases endorphins which increase your feeling of happiness; it also reduces hormones that produce anxiety and stress. It is also great for your mental health; it allows you to escape your everyday routine and focus all of your energy and thoughts into your workout. Getting a workout partner is a great way to keep yourself motivated. It is hard to stay in bed when you have your friend sitting outside waiting for you. You can both motivate each other and hold each other accountable to stay on track.
Keep yourself busy
Keep yourself busy and get involved. Take this time to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill. Find something you have always wanted to learn and take a deep dive into it. There are so many new things you can learn: knitting, painting, or cooking. There are so many online classes you can sign up for, or teach yourself! You can join a Facebook group or watch YouTube videos, or pick up a book at your local bookstore. Starting a new project makes your time spent inside feel much more productive than sitting on the couch watching TV.
Last, but certainly not least, there is self-care! Self-care is taking a second for yourself, and finding something to do that you enjoy. For example, listening to your favorite sports podcast, drinking some hot chocolate, taking a warm bubble bath, getting a massage, or taking a nature walk. In this busy life of ours we forget to take a break and treat ourselves! Try to disconnect from technology for a little bit, snuggle up on the couch with your pets or grab a good book and just “unplug”. Doing some light stretching or meditating are also great self care activities. Practicing self-care will allow you to thrive this winter… not just survive!