With an arctic blast dropping temps to 100-year record lows across the US, it truly feels like winter is here!
When we think about our winter health we often think of cold, flu, and mental health. Being indoors more often means we're more likely to catch a bug from our cubicle neighbor, and less time spent outdoors and/or less sun exposure can contribute to feelings of isolation and depression.
take care of your body
If you find yourself craving citrus in the winter months, you may not be getting all of your vitamins. Vitamin C is found in foods like grapefruit, oranges, kale, and broccoli. You can also increase your Vitamin E intake by adding nuts and seeds to your diet via trail mix or an added smoothie boost.
Whether we don't feel like cooking, or there is less variety at the market in the winter months, keeping your diet quality high is important to stay healthy during winter.
make an exercise plan
We may be less active in the winter for many reasons.
Some reasons include:
battle the dark
By thinking through which reasons apply to you, you can come up with a strategy to stay active. If you usually workout in the morning or evening, the winter months may be too dark and/or too cold. Consider a running lamp and reflective stickers to stay safe and visible on dark runs. Invest in lightweight but warm thermal layers to keep you toasty but also wick away sweat. If you're headed to the gym, layout sweats and your jacket along with your workout gear in the morning. Here are some of my favorites:
You can also switch your outdoor exercise indoors. If you usually bike outside, cycle inside with a bike trainer stand*. Pull up some Youtube videos and jump into aerobics or yoga. Yoga, in particular, is a great way to stay active in the winter, as it stretches out cold cramped muscles, keeps you in tune body-and-mind, and can help you feel less stressed (hello holiday stress!).
adjust your schedule
Alternatively, you might switch up the time of day that you exercise.
Going to a lunchtime yoga or spin class, or taking advantage of the mid-day sun and having walking meetings with your coworkers can keep your steps up and boost your mental health.
Here's a great article on how to do walking meetings right from the Harvard Business Review. Still too cold outside during the day? Have a walking meeting inside to boost your productivity.
make it fun
Check out some indoor sports opportunities and recruit family, friends, and coworkers to participate. Does your work or school have intramural or club sports? Rally a group to play basketball and get everyone hyped by creating custom basketball uniforms.
You could also host a Step Challenge at work, encouraging people to walk, run, and bike their way to an active winter. Hold a kick-off rally to get everyone excited, and wrap it up with awards for most steps, most excited, or whatever other superlatives your group comes up with! Check out this free template from Wellable on how to organize a step challenge.
catch your zzz's
I'm an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of gal, so the winter darkness brings me joy! I don't feel bad going to bed early on because guess what? It's dark! Not to mention that it gets light earlier around the magical Daylight Savings Time.
Whether you're a night owl or an early bird like me, you may feel sleepier in the winter. Just as you adjust your exercise schedule, listen to your body and adjust your sleep schedule so that your body gets what it needs. If you feel like you're coming down with something, making sure your body gets enough sleep is essential - sleep is when your body heals, repairs, and strengthens.
The winter months can be the most challenging for work life balance, but by taking time to think through your personal barriers and coming up with solutions, you can make it your best winter yet.
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