Am I the only one finding it a lot tougher to get out of bed lately? These dark days have me wanting to hibernate.
When the days get shorter it’s not unusual to feel like you need to go to bed earlier and wake up later.
Winter means less daylight and more darkness. Our bodies naturally gravitate towards less activity, fattier foods and more body fat storage. It’s how our ancestors survived harsh winters back in the days when there was little shelter or warmth.
I know I personally am less motivated and have to work a lot harder to be in a good mood when the sun shines less and I am cold all the time.
There is nothing we can do about winter, however. It will be here, for months, and it is going to be cold and dark and snowy and difficult. That we can’t change. But there are a number of things we can do to keep ourselves from succumbing to the Winter Blues.
- Set a goal. Motivation is a lot harder to come by in the cold. It might take an incentive to get moving. Choose something you want to achieve by the end of the winter. It could be a weight loss goal or to reach a certain milestone by March. This goal will keep you committed to a routine.
- Find projects. This is a great time to get things done around the house since you will be spending a lot more time indoors. Pick a project for each area of your home. Work on completing one project a week. Eliminating clutter and clearing things out will also make you feel lighter, less stressed and more productive.
- Start a gratitude journal. We can thank our ancestors again for hardwiring our brains to remember negative experiences over positive ones. It’s how primitive man learned to survive. This means if we want to remember good things that happened we have to consciously remind ourselves. Writing down the things you’re thankful for helps boost your mood and make you happier.
- Get outside. Ok this one is tough for me because I hate being cold and really, really don’t want to be outside in the winter. But being in nature helps boost your energy and mood. Take your dog for a short walk or build a snowman with the kids. Bundle up and try to appreciate the many sides of Mother Nature, from hot humid summer to cold crisp winter.
- Eat healthy and drink lots of water. Not much is in season when it comes to fruits and veggies this time of year, but there are some unique to the winter months that are still healthy and delicious. This is a great time to make seasonal recipes using squashes, pumpkin, cranberries, apples and so on. Make healthier hot chocolate with unsweetened cocoa and almond milk. (Comfort foods do not have to be calorie bombs.) You can enjoy the best of the season within reason and then you won’t find your pants fitting tighter in February.
Get ready, we are in for many long, dark cold months. However that’s no excuse to let yourself go or give in to the blues. Spring will eventually come and we can get through this. But we have to consciously take action and don’t give in to the urge to eat, sleep and be moody!