5 Ways To Enjoy Winter More
By Emily Jacobson
During the dark winter days, do you want to stay inside and curl up with a book, pretending the weather isn’t gloomy outside? While this is fine to do at times – especially if there’s a warm fire blazing in the background – too much inactivity during winter can lead to lethargy and depression. You may think that you have no choice, because, after all, it’s freezing outside! While it’s true that certain activities can only be done in the spring and summer, there are many things you can do to feel more energetic in the winter. Here are five tips that will help get you through the chilly season:
Try A New Winter Activity
Let loose and take a risk by taking on an activity that you can do only during the cold season. It could be skiing, ice skating, or snowshoeing – the key is to find something that you’ve always wanted to try. Snow sports can remind us that even when it’s freezing outside, we can still feel the rush that comes from physical activity. Conquering the outdoors will not only boost your energy – it will make you feel like you have some control over your environment. Even if you are used to despising the snow, you may find that you end up having a great time.
Get Up Early During the cold months, you may find that your body wants you to get more sleep. The long winter nights prolong the signal of melatonin, the brain hormone that helps you sleep. This, combined with the cold weather and the strong desire to stay in bed under your warm covers, leads most of us to sleep more during this time of the year. But oversleeping leads you to experience less daylight, which can contribute to feelings of depression. If you’re going to add more sleep to your schedule, try to go to bed earlier at night instead of waking up later. There are many ways to make sure you do this, but the most effective strategy is to have a commitment each day that begins somewhat early in the morning (including weekends!). Make this something that you can’t get out of, like a workout with a friend, so that you will be less motivated to cancel.
Think Indoors As Well As Outdoors During the spring or summer, you are probably more likely to be generally active in everyday life through activities like taking walks on the beach, biking, and gardening. In the winter, however, you may need to make a more conscious effort to exercise – especially since it will help you keep your mood elevated. In many places, there are at least some sunny days during winter. Take advantage of these! Even going for a walk several times per week can be an excellent addition to your winter schedule. If exercising outside isn’t an option, try signing up for some new classes at the gym, such as yoga. If you can work up a sweat 3-4 times per week during winter, you'll feel happier and more relaxed.
Brighten Up Your Space Winter, in all its drabness, can be a great opportunity to find fun new ways to make your surroundings more vibrant. Since you’d rather not go out in the freezing weather anyway, how about adding some color to your walls? Paint them a fresh coat of a stimulating and upbeat color such as yellow or orange, or get some new plants and art. This is also a good time to take a look at the lighting in your home: is there enough of it, or would your living room benefit from some brighter lamps? If your bed sheets are a dull color like beige or brown, treat yourself to some nicer blue or green ones. You may even find that when you wear brighter colors, you feel happier. There are countless ways to add color to your life, so get creative!
Eat Seasonal Food It’s not at all uncommon to crave more carbohydrates and sugar when it’s cold and dark outside – and end up eating more empty calories. For many people, weight gain is a regular occurrence during winter, and that’s usually due to poor eating habits and less physical movement. Try to consume foods that give you vitamin D and protein, which will help you stay energetic. Winter can also be a great time to experiment with seasonal cooking. Some foods that reach their peak during winter include butternut squash, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, turnips and leeks.