Even if you’re determined to make the most out of your life, it can be difficult to stay motivated during winter. The coldest season can be a difficult time of the year if you don’t have coping strategies to get you through.
If the long, dark days are getting you down, these tips will help you thrive through the second half of winter.
Fuel Your Sense of Humor
A big old belly laugh has been shown to reduce stress and physical tension, leaving your whole body relaxed for up to 45 minutes afterwards. You’ll also get an immune system boost through the release of powerful antibodies that help you fight disease, while your stress hormone levels will be reduced. The benefits of laughing are welcome at any time of year but what better time to take advantage of this magical mood-enhancer than winter, when many of us struggle with seasonal affective disorder? Whether you check out some old timer jokes or watch a funny movie with your friends, laughing is one of the best ways to keep yourself going through the winter months.
Prepare Seasonal Meals
Many of us continue to cook our summer go-to meals like salads or stir-fries throughout the colder seasons, ignoring the fact that the ingredients are not in season, making them more expensive and harder to get. Not only are our regular ‘favorite meals’ less tasty in winter, but they’re more expensive and don’t provide much comfort. If you’re someone who gets stuck in a cooking rut, especially during the week, winter is a great time to push yourself to experiment with different recipes. Not only will your food be cheaper, more delicious and more satisfying, but the seasonality will make them more nutritious as well, helping you fight off colds and flu. Don’t worry if you’re not an experienced cook. You really can’t really go wrong with a soup or stew, which can just be simmered for a few hours in a heavy pot or left to tick away in a slow cooker while you’re at work. (Also, hello left-overs-for-lunch!)
Move Your Body
Yes, even when it’s cold. Actually, especially when it’s cold. In the depths of winter, there is no better way to keep the blood flowing and your mood high than a little brisk exercise. Of course, you won’t always feel like traipsing outside to haul yourself around the block a couple of times in the freezing cold. The further into winter we get, the shorter the daylight hours and the harder it becomes to motivate ourselves to start an exercise routine. Indoor sports are a great way to escape the cold and lengthen your days. Consider a seasonal gym membership if you don’t have one, or try your hand at indoor sports like squash or climbing. Whether you’re taking a walk in the park or heading for the heated swimming pool, you’ll find winter a lot easier on your moods if you can exercise daily.