It’s that time of year again. Time to pull on the cozy sweatpants, sweaters and fuzzy slippers. The time of year where we tend to eat more, move less, and for many, experience a precipitous drop in our spirits. And these winter blues are not some imaginary state. It is an actual quantified emotional disturbance, especially prevalent in the colder climates such as ours here in New England.
So, how can we make this year different? How can we avoid the 5 to 10 pound weight gain, the hibernation factor that results in us storing away calories like squirrels hoarding acorns? What can we do to avoid or quell the winter blahs, that pervade our spirits and keep us sedated and sedentary?
Below are five steps we can take today to nip the seasonal crash in the bud and take a big bite out of our seasonal slump.
Revisit and renew your health and wellness goals. A great place to start is to make your goals measurable, inspiring, and attainable. Also, it helps to associate these aspirations with a particular feeling or experience. For example, imagine yourself meeting and greeting your goals and living a healthy and happy lifestyle come New Year’s Day. How will you look and feel when you succeed? Why not beat the resolution rush, and set the intention that you’re going to welcome in 2019 with a greater level of confidence and determination? How will it be to not dread the coming year, but actually be excited about what the new year brings? Go ahead and give yourself permission to be the exception. Your time is now.
Stop giving yourself a free pass to eat what you want, and not exercise because it is the holidays. Just because we can, doesn’t necessarily mean that we should. Eating in moderation does not have to be an act of deprivation- it can actually be a beautiful way to love on yourself. Moving your body is a way to celebrate the gift to which you were born into. Also, it is important to know that other people are watching you make these positive choices. You never know who you are inspiring in how you choose to live your life. Be THAT person. You deserve it and so do the people who love you.
Buy a good quality long, warm coat. One word for this one: game-changer. Last year I purchased a long warm coat. It was more than I usually spend on one piece of clothing, but boy, did it make a difference in my ability to keep my active lifestyle going in the colder months. Go ahead and splurge on this one- you will thank me!
Create a work-out/meditation area in your home. Set a ritual that when you step into this space, your focus is just on you- your breath, and on improving your health and wellness. Don’t have a meditation practice? The good news is that it only takes one full breath in and out to bring you back to calm. There are oodles of videos on Youtube where you can exercise and meditate at your own level and experience. And all you need is a mat, a couple dumbbells and a band or two. Don’t let your lack of experience and/or equipment stop you from being a more fit and fantastic you. It’s never been easier to access good quality information- dig in and have some fun!
Accept that things don’t have to be perfect to be great. By embracing what is as good enough, the only way to go is up from there! Not feeling it on a particular day? Just fake it until you make it. Listen to how you are speaking to yourself, what you are focusing on, and how you are interpreting activity and conversations around you. Remember the adage that it would shock you how little people really spend time thinking about what others do. Strangely enough, often the people we are most worried about aren’t even in our lives anymore. Call a truce to the voices in your head saying that you don’t deserve to live a wonderful life. I am here to tell you that you do.
Here’s to a season of health and happiness to all!