How to Stay Healthy, Happy, and Motivated During the Colder Months

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The chilly autumn and winter months bring beautiful leaves and fun holidays. But it’s not always an enjoyable time. There are many people who find that cold weather impacts their sleep, fitness and overall mood. This phenomenon happens for a few scientific reasons — but there are ways to bring the sunshine back into your life during the colder months.

Here are a few tips on how to take care of yourself during winter.

1. Spend More Time Outside

This may seem counterintuitive because it’s cold outside! That said, you can benefit from sunlight. A condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) impacts around 10 million Americans every winter. This depression type occurs most commonly when days become shorter. You have less time to spend outdoors and you’re subjected to less sunlight. These conditions create downward mood shifts.

Note that it’s essential to spend time outside even if you don’t have SAD. A walk to your local park or cafe allows you to move your body and breathe fresh air. This effort can help you push yourself to leave your house as usual when you’d rather stay on the couch. If you think that you have depression, it’s essential to talk with your doctor. It may seem scary, but you can access resources and treatments to help you thrive.

Try to remember that mental health tips for winter aren’t one-size-fits-all. It’s always best to take an individual approach.

2. Create a Physical Fitness Calendar

You can still learn how to stay healthy and fit during winter despite the weather. A calendar can help you stay motivated and organized as you pursue your goals — that way, you make sure to put your health first, even when you might not be in the mood. 

It’s a smart idea to pre-plan your workouts, since you’ll already know what you’ll do each day. You can discuss accountability with your friends, too. An exercise buddy is a beneficial way to ensure you’re focused.

3. Leave Room for Social Interaction

You and your friends should make an effort to see one another. If you already have a poor headspace, you don’t want to become lonely, too. A weekly meetup will be a fantastic way to ensure your friend group stays connected. The COVID-19 pandemic may cause you to modify your plans — but that’s okay! For instance, you can set up a virtual dinner party over Skype or Zoom. A book club can be fun, too.

In any case, you should aim to maintain those bonds even if you won’t see each other as often. They’ll be able to boost your spirits, and vice versa.

4. Prioritize Self-Care Activities

Try not to neglect yourself, either. It’s always important to prioritize self-care. As a result, you’ll feel refreshed and renewed — and your mood will experience a lift. The possibilities are endless when you want to pamper yourself. Here are a few ideas for inspiration:

There are several ways to enjoy winter self-care when you feel down. These activity examples will help you discover how to stay happy during wintertime.

4. Rethink Your Location

If you find yourself sincerely struggling with seasonal affective disorder and can’t take another season of cold and grogginess despite your best efforts, it might be worth thinking about a new adventure — relocating your life to somewhere warmer. With COVID making many more careers remote, this could be your opportunity to start fresh elsewhere. 

If you’re serious about starting somewhere new, make sure you do your research on housing costs, standard of living, the economy, and the climate of the locale you’re considering relocating to. Are you simply looking for more sunshine? Denver, Colorado has 300 sunny days a year. Looking for less humidity and more year-round heat? Arizona might be your next stop.

If it’s not possible to pick up and move, a vacation to somewhere sunnier might be just the cold-weather remedy you need. Research the COVID test and quarantine guidelines for domestic and international travel, and give yourself a well-deserved trip. A change of temperature — or simply scenery — can do you good. 

5. Try to Practice Mindfulness

The doom and gloom that you experience during winter could happen because it’s a long season. For some people, it’s cold outside from October to March. That’s six months that you have to handle — and as a result, your outlook may be pessimistic. 

Wherever you are in the world, you should redirect your focus to everyday moments through mindfulness. You’re able to become stress-free and more aware if you do. Try to be as thankful as you can for each moment you encounter.

Make This Winter Your Best Yet

It may seem like winter isn’t a beneficial or productive time for you. But you have what it takes to power through, no matter the season. It starts with a little self-care, mindfulness, movement — and maybe a change of scenery. Make this winter meaningful.

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