Many of us dread the long winter months. The darkness and cold weather can take a toll on both our mental and physical health. Being active and healthy is often easier during the summer, but your healthy habits don’t have to end in the winter.
There are many things you can do to boost your mental and physical health during the winter. Here are some activities that can boost your wellness all winter long.
1. Practice Self-Care
Limited sunshine can lead to a case of the winter blues if you aren’t careful. Practice self-care to promote healing and ensure your mental health doesn’t suffer. Take advantage of the opportunities cold weather brings to show yourself some love. More time spent indoors can mean more bubble baths, good books and your favorite scented candles.
Start a new skincare routine to nourish your skin and protect it from the harsh environment. Begin journaling to set goals or work on other areas of self-improvement. Consider starting a gratitude journal to practice mindfulness. Whatever self-care looks like for you, make time for it to nurture your mental health.
2. Improve Your Sleep Habits
Since it gets dark earlier in the evening, your sleep cycle might be a little off schedule. Now is the perfect time to create a nighttime routine that will help you sleep peacefully. It can be difficult to get up in the morning when it’s dark and cold out, but getting a good night of sleep can make it easier.
If you find it hard to fall asleep, try calming activities to help you wind down. Yoga, breathing exercises or meditation can help quiet your mind and put you in a relaxed state. Instead of scrolling through your phone, pick up a book or journal when you get into bed.
3. Get Fresh Air
While it might be cold outside, fresh air can still be beneficial for your health. Being stuck inside all day can make you feel sluggish. Taking a walk around the block or doing an outdoor activity can break up the day and give you an energy boost.
Even if you don’t make it outside, try opening a window to let some fresh air inside. Just a few minutes can help improve your indoor air quality and reduce allergens. While you don’t want to leave them open all day, try it out when you need a quick burst of energy and fresh air.
4. Cook Warm Foods
Take advantage of the winter weather and enjoy some delicious recipes to warm you up. Soups and other hearty foods seem to taste better when it’s chilly outside. Fall and winter are the perfect seasons for easy crockpot meals — you can start recipes in the morning and come home to the aroma of a tasty meal that’s good for you. Incorporate vegetables that boost your immune system and help you fight the cold and flu season that winter brings.
Root vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin C and potassium that are perfect in stews and soups. They are also high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. Have fun trying new recipes to enjoy a warming sensation that makes you feel cozy and boost your winter wellness. Hot tea is also warming, soothing and great for your immune system.
5. Prioritize Exercise
Exercise can be more challenging in the winter when you can’t get outside as much. However, it’s all the more important to stay moving in the winter. Not only is exercise good for your physical health, but it is essential for your mental health.
Many people experience seasonal affective disorder in the winter. It can worsen if you spend all your time in bed or online. Physical activity is a great alternative to passive, unhealthy habits. When it’s cold or snowing out, you may not feel motivated to hit the gym or go for a walk. Instead, find an activity you enjoy that you can do at home. Yoga or simple workouts can be done in any space – and just a few minutes will do wonders for your mental wellbeing.
6. Try a New Hobby
It’s easy to get bored if you’re stuck inside all winter. While it’s tempting to curl up on the couch and watch TV in your free time, that’s not always the most fulfilling activity. Instead, make time to try a new hobby that will make you feel energized and creative.
Think of anything you’ve always wanted to try. It could be a creative hobby, like painting or knitting, or physical, like pilates or zumba. Whatever it is, try to schedule time at least once a week to practice it. Even if you have TV on in the background, the action of doing something creative or productive will make you feel much better than simply sitting around all season.
7. Connect with Friends and Family
Socializing is a powerful way to boost your mood, especially during the winter. We can often feel isolated when we spend too much time at home by ourselves. You may not be going out as much as you did in the summer, but you can still find time to connect with your loved ones.
A simple phone call can go a long way to brighten your mood. If you want to make it more of an activity, you can have a dinner date with a friend over FaceTime. You can both cook the same meal and eat together while talking over the phone. Even if you’re not spending time together in person, the conversation you have on the phone can be just as valuable.
Boosting Your Winter Wellness
We can all experience loneliness or sadness during the winter. With the cold weather and lack of sunlight, it can be easy to stay home and isolate yourself. However, there are plenty of ways you can lift your spirits and nurture your physical health – even if you don’t want to face the winter weather outside. Try one or all of these activities to prioritize your wellness all winter long.