Now that the weather is colder and our days shorter, many of us may experience changes to our energy, mood, cravings and overall well-being. Here are some recommendations to help you feel your best during the winter months.
- Spend time in nature each day
Research shows a connection between time spent in nature and positive mental well-being. During the winter months when our daylight hours are shorter, it is even more beneficial to get outside and breathe fresh air daily. Although many of our climates do not provide a lot of vitamin D in the winter months, every little bit counts.
Here are some tips to incorporate nature into your routine:
- Start slow. A 10-minute walk each day will help you feel calmer and more energized.
- Walk to begin your day. Prioritize time before your school or workday begins.
- Leave your podcast or music at home. Take in the scenes and sounds of nature and notice the changing landscape around you.
- Prepare warm, nourishing dishes
Consuming hot meals during the colder months helps to warm you from the inside out, especially when you incorporate warming spices such as cinnamon, cumin, turmeric and ginger. Stretch your dollar and time by preparing one or two big meals over the weekend, to nourish you throughout the week.
Try these amazing recipes:
- Spicy Turkey Chili
- Slow Cooker Chicken, White Bean & Pumpkin Chili
- Carrot Lentil Soup with Fresh Ginger
- Drink plenty of water
When it’s cold outside, we often reach for a warming cup of coffee or mug of tea. Both beverages have antioxidant properties, but it is important to consume adequate water to stay hydrated.
Incorporate these tips to drink more water throughout your busy day:
- Purchase a large water bottle of 32 ounces or more, so that a few fill-ups get you enough. Keep your water bottle on your desk or workspace, so when you are thirsty, the first thing you reach for is water.
- Make water fun. Create “spa” water at home by adding some slices of lemon or cucumber to your H20.
- Eat your fruits and veggies. These foods help keep you hydrated due to their water content. Add a piece of fruit or a side of fresh veggies to each meal.
- Feel connected to others
Rain, snow and freezing temperatures makes it more daunting to leave the house and brace the elements to connect with people. During winter, it is normal to feel more isolated after spending more time at home, especially if you also study or work from home.
Here are some simple ways to prioritize your people (and stay warm doing it):
- Schedule a standing coffee or lunch date with a friend. Plan to meet at least once a month at a favorite spot.
- Invite a friend or family member for a walk. Select a favorite park or trail to meet at, bundle up and get some steps and time in nature!
- There are many different community organizations that welcome help with activities such as food banks and grocery shopping for seniors. Find a nonprofit with a mission you connect with, invite a friend or classmate and feel good by doing good.
- Embrace the change by slowing down
Spring and summer are energetically very busy, fruitful times when we naturally feel more active and enjoy packing our days with lots of activity. The fall and winter are a time to slow down and go inward, letting go of what no longer serves us and building up our reserves. As busy students and professionals, slowing down often feels counterintuitive, but it can be simple and nourishing with some easy practices:
- Embrace hygge, a Danish concept which means a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being, by enjoying the simple things in life. Take a study break or spend a weekend morning bundled up with a favorite blanket and mug of tea.
- Practice gentle movement, such as restorative yoga or a nature walk.
- Schedule “unscheduled” time. Leave open space in your calendar, where you have nowhere to be and nothing to do. Allow yourself a break from doing and see what emerges!
I wish you a warm and nourishing season, filled with delicious food and restorative time with others.