GUEST POST BY HAYLEY NICHOLLS
When the weather is cold and wet, and you leave for work in the dark and return home in the dark, winter can seem like a drag. Worse still, we can sink into a dark place within ourselves and feel down and grumpy. But it doesn’t need to be this way, so lets look at ways to stay upbeat through the winter months.
Its no secret that exercise makes us feel good. Those endorphins released while exercising are our best friends in winter. Find ways to exercise that don’t depend on good weather. It’s a good time to join a gym or swim in an indoor pool. Yoga or pilates is great for stretching out cold muscles and for flexibility for those of us who spend too much time at the computer. Perhaps winter is your chance to put on those football boots and get out there. Whatever works for you, be active.
The sun does still shine through the winter, even behind the clouds and we need that Vitamin D more than ever. So wrap up, put on a hat and get outdoors. Even the busiest of us can get out for a half hour walk at lunchtime and you’ll feel so much better for it. I love going to the beach in the winter. The wild wind and fresh air is so invigorating.
Do you find it hard to eat a cold salad in the winter? That’s because you body needs warm foods to keep you firing. Comfort foods do not have to mean stodgy puddings or fatty fry ups. Nourish yourself with soups and slow cooked casseroles. Try warm foods for breakfast like porridge or hot milk on your cereals. It will set you up for the day and you’ll feel warm when you leave the house.
In this country our winters are not that severe that we need to be housebound yet people can tend to hibernate. We are social beings and even the most introverted need social contact. Replace the summer backyard BBQs with having friends over for dinner. If you love cooking that’s a great excuse to show off your skills. If you don’t, share a pizza. What matters is seeing your friends and family, having a few laughs and enjoying good company.
Take a mini break
The long stretch without public holidays can be a killer, so save some annual leave for a mid winter break. Escape to the Gold Coast or the pacific islands for some sunshine. If your budget won’t stretch to that, get away somewhere for a change of scenery and routine. There are great winter rates available on holiday homes which have all the comforts of home. Perhaps you have a friend or relative out of town you’ve been meaning to visit. Whatever you do, make the effort. We are creatures of habit but routine leads to boredom and occasionally we have to break out to feel alive.
How we feel is a direct result of how we think. If you constantly grumble about what how much you hate winter and how bad the weather is, you will feel down in the dumps. Think of all the things you love about winter. Make a list to remind yourself and make sure you enjoy what it has to offer you. For me winter means a chance to get to the snow and ski. I love winter clothes and dressing in coats, hats and boots. I asked my family what they love. For my husband winter means the football season, that’s playing and watching. For Mum it’s a good book in front of a warm fire with the purring pet. For Dad it is growing winter veges and not having to mow the lawns every weekend!
For many of us the creative part of our brain gets little exercise in our daily work. Winter is a great time to write, paint, play music, whatever is your thing. There’s no need to feel guilty about being inside in your free time in the winter. Take an evening class to learn something new like photography, languages, meditation, cooking, the possibilities are endless really. Dance and sing. What lifts your spirits and when was the last time you did it?
Winter certainly isn’t all doom and gloom. Make a commitment to yourself to get off the couch this winter and enjoy what is on offer. Share these tips with your family and start making plans.
Hayley Nicholls works with busy business owners who want to stress less, get more done and have more fun. She is a life coach, facilitator and public speaker and the owner of Energy Coaching based in Auckland, New Zealand. www.energycoach.co.nz