The beginning of the new year often brings a fresh start. Resolutions are made or goals are set and motivation seems to be a little higher. For some. The beginning of the year can also be a tough time because many of us are in the heart of winter. Right now the temperature in Illinois is -13 with wind chills as low as -45 and gusts of wind up to 30 mph. Just a bit chilly. The cold, lack of sun, and holiday food/mood can lead to some serious lack of motivation and willpower. Many days it just seems so much easier, and appealing, to bundle up in sweatpants and eat cookies and drink hot chocolate all day.
While I love winter, there are days that I feel drained. Everything is the same and it’s boring. I don’t want to leave the warmth and comfort of my home. I feel lethargic and would rather do anything than go run or cook a healthy meal. I pretty much want to go into hibernation Bears get to sleep all winter, why can’t I?
Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about and the rest of you probably live in a place that’s warm all year round Lucky you! For those of you who struggle with the winter blah’s, here are a few of my strategies to break through the doldrum of these colder months.
Find the light. During the winter we tend to get less sun which results in less vitamin D. This can cause some of us to feel more blue than usual. Try to take advantage of what little sun is available. If the weather permits, take a short walk outside. Even just sitting in a sunny window for a few minutes can boost your mood and make you feel less like a zombie.
Switch up your exercise routine. Find a new workout to try out during the winter months. Whether it’s a different circuit at the gym, a new workout routine for home, or running a new route, mixing things up can help boost your exercise motivation. Don’t think you have to spend a ton of money on a new routine or class either. You can find a ton of new routines, videos, and workouts online. You can also rent exercise DVD’s from your library. If you do want to try a new class or gym, this time of year there are some pretty great deals, so check it out.
Pull out the slow cooker. You know I’m obsessed with my slow cooker, and for good reason. I can make really big batches of healthy meals and freeze leftovers. That way when I really don’t feel like cooking, I can pull a delicious and nutritious meal out of the freezer. Also try to make a goal of making one new healthy recipe a week or once every other week. This way you can get some variety in your diet and you can expand your cooking arsenal.
Pick up a new hobby. When you’re feeling stuck in a rut, a new activity can shake things up. Maybe you would like to try a new crafty thing like knitting, crocheting, or cross stitching (my new favorite). Try a new class through your park district. Find a new board game to play with friends or family. Read a new series of books or volunteer at a local animal shelter or senior center. There are plenty of things to break up the hum-drum.
Of course there are plenty of other things to do during the winter like sledding, skiing, skating, building snowmen, or snuggling by the fire. The key is to not let yourself slip deep into the coma that winter can bring. Believe me, I know how easy it is to sit on the couch and watch Netflix all day. Some times that is totally alright. Everyone needs a day of laziness. The trouble comes when that one day of lazy turns into a string of lazy and you never want to do anything else. You don’t have to be constantly on the move during the winter, but don’t become a hibernating bear. No matter how enticing that may seem!