It’s official, the wet windy weather has well and truly arrived and the phrase “winter blues” is something we are all too familiar with. We are so used to approaching the darker colder months with dread but imagine if we could change this? What if we could embrace this time of year for what it is rather than suffer through it? The good news is we can. Each of us is responsible for our own happiness and we can absolutely change our experience of winter if we really want to. We just need to make a few tweaks in our lives and winter can become something positive rather than something we dread.
1. Rest The most important thing, not just at this time of year but all year round, is to get enough sleep. When we sacrifice sleep it affects everything; we are more irritable, less productive and have less energy to make healthy decisions that make us feel good. Commit to sleeping 7-9 hours per night – whatever you need – and stick to this as you would your fitness or work schedule.
2. Green Machine As lots of you know I love to begin the day with a Juicepresso – it’s rocket fuel in a shot glass! I started drinking this shot every morning about 3 years ago and I haven’t had a cold or flu since – I’ve probably just jinxed it! Try to get fresh ginger into your diet daily, this will help ward off sickness – being ill is a real spanner in the works – and will make you feel toasty as ginger is a warming spice.
3. Keep Moving For many, Winter is a time to stop a lot of the activities that they have been enjoying over the spring and summer. Why do we do this? I know it’s cold and dark but these very activities are what helps make us happier yet we stop them during the time we need them the most. Vow to be more active this winter – a good injection of endorphins will help with those blues.
4. Find A Friend I know motivation can be lacking around this time – it’s just hard -so if you know you are deficient in vitamin M (motivation!!) now is the time to find a way to keep going with your exercise plan. Find a class, group exercise really works – our Run Club is a perfect example of how training together gives encouragement and support. Make a plan with a friend to meet weekly – when you’re accountable to someone it is a lot easier and you tend to go even for the social aspect.
5. Adapt This goes for every area of your life. As we know it can be a difficult time of year even if we do approach it more positively. Accept it, own it and don’t beat yourself up if you are struggling. It is very normal to feel like this, what’s important is how you deal with it. Don’t be afraid to rest, to look after yourself and say NO sometimes. Over doing it and pushing yourself beyond what your body and mind are capable of is pointless and becomes a vicious cycle of guilt and misery.
With regards to your exercise plan, if you are used to intense daily workout outs don’t be afraid to pull back a little and train less. Your body can’t be at peak level all year round so allow for down time. Try something new, it’s a perfect time and to do so and your body will thank you.
6. This Too Shall Pass… Remember this on those tough days – everything changes, nothing stays the same. Spring will come eventually and the cold days will give way to longer, brighter ones. And remember, Christmas is in the middle so it’s not all bad!