It’s that time of year again. We’re stuck in a lull between the excitement of a brand new year and the long-anticipated warmth of spring and its promise for long summer days. Perhaps you aren’t as gung-ho about that New Year’s resolution or are just plain tired of the chill and gray of February. Those last few weeks always seem to drag, but there is good news! Spring is just a few weeks away!
You can beat the winter blues by finding what works for you. Try to stay away from frequent indulgence in temporary fixes like oversleeping (we know, warm blankets are the best!), skimping on physical activity, drinking fancy sugar-laden lattes, shutting out the world in favor of Netflix, and filling yourself to the brim with comfort foods. We’re all guilty of at least one of these, and we should be, life is about balance and occasional “treat-yo-self” moments. However, constantly giving in to winter’s hibernation activities will leave you feeling zapped in the long run. By keeping up your good health habits-or returning to them-for the remainder of the winter, you can be just as inspired, healthy, and happy as you are the rest of the year. Remember: the end (of winter) is near!
Use some of the strategies to the right to boost your mood as we make the final push to spring. For more ideas on winter well-being and health lifestyles in general, ask your company’s HR team about your employee assistance program (EAP), which often offers wellness counseling and general life/work balance resources.
Work off the Winter Blues
- Exercise effectively and naturally boosts your mood AND immune system.
- Physical activity is a proven way to manage stress, improve cognitive performance, and increase energy. Aim for 150 minutes per week!
- Be sure to stay hydrated during the winter months – exposure to cold makes people feel about 40% less thirsty! (UNH)
- Layer up- it’s still possible to enjoy being active outside if you learn to layer and wear wicking base layers that won’t hold sweat.
Make your own sunshine:
- The cold makes it easy to be antisocial. Host your own toasty dinner party or game night with hot tea, healthy snacks, and familiar faces. Socialization can help your mood and immunity.
- Just looking out the window is enough to drain your motivation. Motivate yourself to try new things! Whether it is season-specific, like ice skating, or a new treadmill routine you find on Pinterest, adding variety can warm up any winter day.
- Chilly bodies sometimes crave hot cocoa, whipped cream-topped sugar bombs, and simple-carb comfort foods. Indulge without the consequential energy spikes and crashes by tweaking your recipes. Try reducing added sugar/using stevia, and replacing things like white bread and pasta, with whole wheat alternatives, and sour cream, mayonnaise, and butter with Greek yogurt, avocado, and applesauce. You can lighten up almost any dish by googling a recipe plus the word “light”.
Read more tips at www.health.com.
Sources: American College of Sports Medicine, Health.com, LifeWork Strategies, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.