Now that the weather has changed and the air is so cold, lately I have picked up on a small trend of clients and even friends that find themselves saying how they have noticed becoming less active and less productive. Winter is a darker season where it becomes rather common to lose the ambition to strive toward our goals with the lack of motivation and inner drive. Although there are simple common sense ways to avoid the winter slump, excuses come from all angles in these winter months.
Let's take the most obvious excuse to start: the dark and cold. The cold from winter will influence many to stay wrapped in their sheets, but this is simply unproductive. Although I do not spend as much time as I would like inside them, I am a fan of loose sweat pants and hoodies during the winter months merely for the fact that they keep me warm, and my mobility is not constricted. As a dual exercise tip that I’ve used over the years, lay your workout clothes over the heater, so they are toasted in the morning allowing you to roll out of bed and right into warm clothes.
It is also notable that we lose daylight earlier in the wintertime and spend more time in the dark, which puts us in a more depressed mood from the lack of sunlight. The easiest thing to do would be to simply get outside more and get yourself under the sun. However, as it is so cold, people are spending less time outside so a quick indoor solution would be buying a cheap bedside lamp that emits natural light. “well what is that?” you may be asking? Take the “Philips Wake-up Light” for example. This lamp will gradually increase the light so that your body can wake up naturally and effortlessly. Do this by setting the lamp alarm at a certain time. At that given time, the lamp will gradually increase in brightness with up to 250 lux. Many come with an iPod hook up built in so you can hear your favorite songs in addition to the light. There is a second light that helps with Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms (winter blues) called Lightphoria by Sphere. This lamp can be used multiple times a day, relieving us from those depressing winter symptoms with rays of up to 10,000 lux.
Some smaller changes that would make an impact would be opening your blinds/shades earlier and throughout the entire day, sitting near windows when out in public and changing your light bulbs inside your home to “full spectrum” bulbs, which replicates the sun.
Put yourself on an exercise routine to keep you active, full of energy and watch your mood improve.
By having an actual workout plan, there will be consistent structure to follow keeping your physical activity in check every day. Our country has not yet realized how influential physical activity can be to our health; we tend to get scared away by a little sweat. However, as mentioned before, wintertime brings out a lack of energy and decreased moods. Nevertheless, did you know physical activity:
- Reduces depression by 47%
- Reduces anxiety by 48%
- Your overall risk of death decreases by 23% while taking part in some form of physical activity daily.
Certain things inspire us to better ourselves. Furthermore, summer triggers our motivation more effectively than in winter. However, winter offers some great things as well that we can only take part in for a few months per annum. Things like outdoor ice skating, snowmobiling, snowboarding, hockey and sledding can purely be appreciated outside during these months so finding something about the winter that motivates you would be extremely helpful. Put the newfound activity in your tool belt and use it. Enough with the excuses; don’t let the winter cold slow you down!