Don’t get me wrong. I love fall and the things that come with it, like the Pinterest pumpkin-palooza, big nubby sweaters and less humidity to whack out my hair. But fall also brings with it one awful feeling that I can’t seem to escape, and that’s the impending doom of winter.
At this point, I know myself well enough to know that winter gets me down. My mood suffers, and my commitment to healthy living and overall wellness in all its forms goes down the tubes. Luckily, I spent many years writing health-related articles for the general public, and I picked up a few simple “wellness hacks” that have truly helped me wade through the dark days of winter with a little more ease.
Keep it Moving
I’m a runner, and short days and early nights really get me down. My solution? Yoga, kettlebells, the occasional bounce on a BOSU! I’ve also spent many a night sweating with Jillian Michaels. Almost anything will work, but you’ve gotta keep your body moving. Most of us know that exercise generates feel-good brain chemicals that improve mood, but you’ve gotta get moving first (and sometimes, when you’re lacking motivation, that can be hard to do.)
Act: Start small with a workout DVD or a one-month membership to a local gym that doesn’t require a yearly contract. Commit to ONE week and see how you feel. After all, positive energy begets more energy, which leads me to my next point…
Build a Wellness Tribe
What better thing to do in the midst of ice and snow than hang out on the internet, right? Well, if you’re going to do it, make the most of it. You’re not alone in wanting wellness, so join (or start!) a group on Facebook. Find some inspirational friends on Instagram. Tag along with some training gurus on Twitter. Download an fitness app that supports a community or invest in an activity tracker that you can wear on your wrist. These days, there’s more free help and support available than ever before, so why not make the most of it? Step away from the candy and the Candy Crush and get interactive with some folks who will truly motivate you and keep you on your toes.
Act: Do a Google search, reach out to friends or follow some hashtags like #fitness, #fitmom, #wellness or #inspire to find like-minded folks who want to know you! Once you find your tribe, let them know that you want to be held accountable!
Keep It Fresh
Your food, that is. While I wholly believe in eating seasonally, there’s something to be said for those tastes of spring and summer after winter sets in. Don’t underestimate the allure of asparagus or the power of fresh-frozen peaches on a cold January day. One year, I pulled out some frozen garlic scapes to make fresh pesto in December, and I couldn’t have benefited more from a full therapy session. Today? I made 12 pints of fresh salsa verde from our late-summer garden veggies. Popping the lid off a tangy jar of tomatillos on a dark evening? Pure sunshine!
So drop what you’re doing and head out to your local farmer’s market or orchard and scoop up what they have left for the season. Right now, I’m putting up peaches and plums, knowing that I’ll have months’ worth of breakfast possibilities, all filled with the things that get me out of bed in the summertime.
*Act: Ask your local growers if seconds are available. You just might get a much lower price on fruit that is merely cosmetically challenged. And if you’re chopping and freezing for smoothies, oatmeal or yogurt toppings, who cares? Just pop a cup or two in the blender with your favorite milk or Silk soy milk and you’ll be well on your way to better physical and emotional wellness in no time.
Small steps, folks. One after the other, until the sun comes out again (which might be sooner than you think!)
This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.