Winter can feel challenging on both your mental and physical wellbeing. Here I share some simple ways to boost your wellbeing, whilst staying warm and well this winter.
If you know me personally, then you will know me as the person who will do anything to get out of enduring the cold weather. In previous years I have been a victim to the darker months, experiencing lower energy levels, lack of motivation and trip ups in my mental health. Escaping the cold weather definitely helps, yet it is neither accessible or sustainable for most people. This year, I’m looking into how I can, firstly manage the winter months but more importantly how to begin to embrace and thrive during this time of the year. I believe that whatever we meet with resistance, will meet us in that same manor, so how can we begin to embrace the seasonality of nature and begin to find appreciation for the flow of nature, read on to find out more…
A Note On Motivation
Writing these blog posts, I understand that ways in which we can optimise our wellbeing can come across direct and simple, yet many struggle to simply build up the courage to begin. With not taking the first step doesn’t come the second or the third and hence why people never get to where they want to go. The first step in always the one that requires the most motivation and drive, its the leap into the unknown and can feel the most daunting. During the winter months, I believe why for so many their health seems to slip away, is all down to the lack of mental motivation. When its dark, cold and gloomy, subconsciously the mind can revert to a more negative and dark processing of thoughts and feelings opposed to one’s of positivity and optimism. Its our own limiting beliefs and standing in our own way that blocks us from beginning and embarking on things, even if we know that they will be beneficial to us. So before we get to the practical tips for winter wellness, we must lay the foundations with our own thoughts of motivation and drive, here’s how we can begin that practise:
Number 1: Brain Fuel. Do not diet or cut out food groups at the beginning of the year. This is the time where you need all the nutrients, especially healthy fats to keep you warm. You need good carbs, for your brain to be happy and protein and fat for your body. Just focus on eating a balanced, healthy diet with loads of greens to get all of those antioxidants and nutrients in. Your overall energy will be increased, resulting in more motivation.
Number 2: Make sure you move. Just keep your body moving in some form every day. From walking, dancing to tennis, whatever works for you. When your lacking motivation opt for a new activity and that will help you to show up with a new sense of optimism and playfulness.
Number 3: Go out and get some fresh air. If you’re working at home or in an office, try to get out for 20 minutes a day on your lunch break. Even a couple deep breaths outside or a quick walk is a great option to get some fresh air. Fresh oxygen helps the body circulate optimally allowing us to regulate our nervous system
Number 5: Self care. This time of year can feel rushed and like time is slipping away, with the days creeping in earlier. By carving time out of your day to dedicate to something that you look forward to, it can boost your mood for the entire surrounding day. What we for self care varies from person to person, personally I love to take a bath, read a book or call a friend. Whatever it is, do something for yourself that you’ll enjoy doing as often as you can, overall motivation for the surrounding activities will come with this.
Winter Wellness Tips
- Protect Your Skin From the Inside-Out and Outside-In. Cold, dry air quickly sucks moisture from our skin. Combine that with a blasting of hot air from central heating and bad quality winter clothing fabric and your skin can end up being dry, itchy and uncomfortable. To combat this keep moisture locked into your skin with a rich, moisturiser. My personal favourite face option is the Rich Cream by Augustinus Bader. https://augustinusbader.com/uk/en/the-rich-cream . For body the Nécessaire’s body lotion. https://necessaire.com/products/the-body-lotion. Also drink plenty of water and eat foods like berries which are high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids (found in salmon, walnuts, or take omega-3 supplements), and consider using a humidifier to help add moisture to the air.
- Watch Your Vitamin D Levels. During the autumn and winter, you need to get vitamin D from your diet because the sun is not strong enough for the body to make vitamin D. This can look like intentionally incorporating more foods that contain vitamin d such as; fatty fish and fish liver oils. Smaller amounts are found in egg yolks, cheese, and beef liver. Certain mushrooms contain some vitamin D2 also. Or by supplementing vitamin d through a trusted and testing source. My personal choice is the vitamin d from Wild Nutrition, as their ingredients are clean and no fillers or gums are used. https://www.wildnutrition.com
- Try to Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule. Our sleep-wake cycle is regulated by the hormone melatonin, which is released in response to light. It may be tempting to take a nap when it gets dark so early however this will impact sleep later on that night. Exposing yourself to too much light at night, such as that emitted from computer screens, TV screens or electronic devices, inhibits the release of melatonin which decreases sleep quality and quantity. This makes us feel sluggish and tired the next day. Get up and go to bed at the same time of day regardless of the season.
- Slow Exposure. Sudden change from hot to cold can be harmful to your health. When a person makes shifts between extreme temperatures, the blood vessels are affected. In winters, our blood vessels store heat while in summers it is the opposite and this sudden change in temperature affects the process, which affects our heart as well. The cold weather takes away your body heat so your heart needs to work harder to keep you warm. Your blood vessels will narrow so your heart can focus on pumping blood to your brain and other major organs. Cold temperatures can cause: your heart rate to increase. So if pre-existing heart problems are relevant for you, please be mindful of gradual exposure and and slowing down the process of exposure to temperature differences.
I hope these hacks helps you to create a useful tool box for your wellbeing this winter, with remembering that the seasonality of a place is what makes it so special and exciting.
“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
Categorised in: Lifestyle
This post was written by Amelia Crossley