By Laura Reutlinger, Wellness Specialist at Winona Health
Continue Your Healthy Habits
Eating well is important year round for our bodies and our minds. When our bodies are fueled in the right way, they are able to function in the right way. Stave off the winter blues by eating nutrient dense food. One easy way to get a variety of nutrients at every meal is to put a rainbow on your plate with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Activity is another key habit to keep up during the winter season. When it’s cold and snowy outside, the easiest thing to do is curl up on the couch with a nice warm blanket. Don’t let this desire for hibernation deter you from keeping up your regular exercise routine. Meet a friend for a group class at the gym, or walk around inside the mall while you window shop. If you are at home, add some extra movement into your day by walking in place or stretching during the commercial breaks of your favorite show, or do a few squats while you wait for leftovers to heat up in the microwave.
Plan Something Fun
The winter months can seem long when it is dreary and cold outside. Break up the bleakness by planning a fun activity to look forward to. This activity can be something small like meeting a friend for lunch during the week, or something bigger like a weekend getaway or vacation. Consider a crafting project you would like to complete, or a new class you would like to join. Our spirits are lifted when we have something positive to look forward to in the near future, rather than focusing on how cold and grey the winter season can seem. Think about a fun activity for each week or a couple activities for the month, and the winter season will fly by.
Yes, go out in the cold! Just be sure to put on your layers first. As little as a few minutes of sunlight each day has been shown to be a mood booster by helping our bodies produce more serotonin, a feel good hormone. Even if it seems like the sun is not out on a given day, the rays are still peaking through and you will still reap the benefits by being outdoors. Fresh air and sunshine can give you a boost of energy to help you feel happier and be more productive with your day.
When you are feeling down, it’s easy for negative thought patterns to take over, and we often forget about what is going well. To encourage more positivity, start your day with a positive affirmation to set your intention for the day. Create a gratitude list by writing down one thing you are grateful for each day. Write down the things you are grateful for as you think of them or set aside a few minutes in the evening to add to your list. At the end of the month, re-read your list for a boost of positivity. The more you practice the habit of gratitude, the easier it will be for you to recognize and focus on the positive aspects of your life.