Winter is ticking along, but we aren’t out of the snowy woods yet.
The winter doldrums are an age-old topic. The theory goes that less sunlight and less activity leads to what some have called “seasonal depression.” There is some debate as to how much we this slip into feeling less than perfect can really be called depression, but it’s not hard to imagine how snow on the ground and shortened days can have some effect on us. In fact, a recent study found that we might be hardwired to over-eat in the winter because of the survival challenge our hunter-gather ancestors faced.
If you live an area prone to snowfall, you might be tempted to hibernate during the winter. It’s cold outside. It’s almost dark when you get out of work. Your friends might be reluctant to make plans. If this happens to you, feeling a bit down during the winter season does not seem like much of a stretch. And when we start to feel bad about ourselves or our situation, we are prone to Habits of Disease like emotional eating, excessive alcohol consumption, and sitting in front of a television for hours and hours.
Tips to staying active and engaged
Don’t let the winter doldrums derail your journey toward Optimal Health. You can stay active and engaged even if a summer sun is not shining.
Here are some tips:
- The weather might not be ideal for outdoor exercise, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be active. Check out a group exercise class to get a nice mix of social activity and fun fitness. You might like yoga, Zumba, or a spin class.
- Winter is beautiful too. There are a lot of fun and healthy winter activities that you can make part of your lifestyle. Playing with the kids or grandkids in the snow is almost always fun, and don’t forget about the ski slopes!
- There is no off-season for health. Just because you won’t be wearing a swimsuit for a few months doesn’t mean that you should put your Habits of Health on pause. Not only will you lose valuable progress, but you will also undermine the rewiring it takes to build and maintain a Habit of Health.
- Stay connected with your friends. You can take the lead on keeping your friend groups bustling. Social interaction goes a long way toward lifting your mood, so find opportunities to spend time with the people you love, even if it’s just for board games.
Winter weather can easily be an excuse to slip back into your Habits of Disease because your environment can have such a profound impact on the choices you make. At the core of these tips is one key idea: I want you to find a reason to look forward to winter or to least find a way to get some enjoyment out of it. As soon as you start dreading a time of year, you set yourself up for a whole host of challenges that could be prevented with some planning and creative thinking.