The Only Guide You Need To Create An Epic Winter Wellness Routine

Written by Chelsea Gross

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There's a noticeable shift in our energy during the winter months. It's colder, darker, and the days feel incredibly short. We feel slower and more weighed down, so eating healthy, moving our bodies, and getting in much-needed rest doesn't come as naturally. And especially after the holidays—when the excitement of celebration with friends and family has dwindled—many of us are feeling out of sorts and challenged with sticking to our healthy habits.

If this is you, I've got your back. Here are five tips for creating a healthy lifestyle you can maintain all winter long!

1. Focus on the little things.

You probably have all kinds of exciting thoughts and hopes about the year ahead, so it's easy to feel confused about how to make it all happen. We often get overwhelmed by the big picture, so I always recommend focusing on what you can do now. Basically, break your big goals down into more achievable and realistic bits! This way your brain and mind register each small accomplishment as a win—and because of this you're more likely to stay on track and maintain your motivation.

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Here's what you can do...

For example, if your big-picture goal is to lose weight, you can reframe that into smaller daily goals like these:

  • Go for a 30-minute walk on my lunch break Monday through Friday.
  • Wake up 20 minutes earlier in the mornings so I can prepare a healthy breakfast.
  • Grocery shop and meal prep on Sunday afternoons so I have healthy food ready to go for the week.
  • Pick out a fun new recipe and cook at home on Friday nights instead of getting takeout or going out to eat.

These smaller steps add up. And with time and consistency they will be what shift the scale and get you to your goal. You can also apply this philosophy to your to-do list…nothing feels better than crossing things off!

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2. Hydrate.

Because it's colder and darker out, we tend to forget we still need to be drinking plenty of water. But water is important for every single bodily function; our skin, metabolism, and digestion all rely on adequate hydration! Most of my clients admit they go into each day with every intention to drink enough water but end up forgetting to work it into their day.

So here's what you can do…

I highly recommend starting your day with a large glass of water, and extra points if you squeeze half a lemon in there. You give your body an inner bath, wake up your digestion, and get a nice dose of vitamin C (which combats stress!).

My bonus tip is to fill up your glass of lemon water the night before and leave it on your nightstand. This way, right when you wake up it's there waiting for you. Drink some right when you get up and carry it around with you while you do your morning routine. Before you know it you've had a quarter of your water for the day before you even leave the house!

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3. Eat more healthy fats.

Our body's ideal fuel source is fat. It's also a big myth that fat makes you fat, and it's been wrongfully demonized for decades. Fat not only boosts our metabolism, but it's crucial for healthy hormones, energy, and it allows us to absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K.

In the cold, winter months our bodies naturally prefer to hibernate. The days are shorter, and we're moving slower. Because of this, it's a good idea to pull back on excess carbohydrate consumption and fill your diet with plenty of nutrient-dense healthy fats instead. Healthy fats give you energy but won't spike your insulin (the "fat-storing" hormone) like excess carbohydrates do. In fact, healthy fats ignite glucagon (our "fat-burning" hormone). I think that's pretty cool! In addition to that, eating more healthy fats helps you to feel full and satiated, which is a huge bonus!

Here's what you can do...

My favorite healthy fats? Coconut oil, almond butter, wild salmon and mackerel, avocados, chia seeds, and grass-fed butter or ghee. Incorporate them into each meal and snack and you'll be amazed at how good you feel. Soon you'll go from being a sugar-burner to a fat-burner.

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4. Sleep smarter.

Yeah, yeah, you've heard this before, right!? Well, let me tell you WHY sleep is so important. Like many things in life, quality is more important than quantity, and I stand behind this belief when it comes to sleep. Sleep is so important because it is restorative both physically and mentally. So focus on getting to bed earlier so you can reap the full benefits!

Good sleep also aids digestion, mental health, and anti-aging. And if that wasn't enough…sleep balances our hormones which are the foundation to optimal health. Just one night of poor sleep can throw off the hormones that control hunger: leptin (which controls satiety and tells our brains, "I'm full!") and ghrelin (which controls hunger and tells our brains, "Keep eating!")

Have you ever noticed that when you have a less than ideal night of sleep, you have more cravings the next day and lean toward all of the carby, sugary, and indulgent foods over the healthy ones? That's because our ghrelin is turned ON and our leptin is turned OFF. Good sleep will work the opposite way, and we love that!

Here's what you can do...

Focus on getting to bed a little earlier these next few months by creating a special nighttime routine.

Stretching, reading, taking a bath, or enjoying a cup of herbal tea are all great options! Also work on reducing your blue-light exposure from your phone and TV, which decreases melatonin production and affects us getting good-quality sleep. Restorative sleep will support you in reaching your goals and help you to maintain an awesome healthy lifestyle all winter long!

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5. Throw out your "all or nothing" mentality.

Health isn't about what you do one time; it's about what you do most of the time. And I love, love, love this piece of advice. It's something I heard while in nutrition school, and it really helped me distance myself from the "all or nothing" mentality. It's really about balance, you guys, and those healthy habits! One day of overindulgence, a night out with too many cocktails, or a day when you simply lie on the couch and binge on Netflix isn't going to ruin all the healthy efforts you've made every other day that week.

Here's what you can do...

We're too hard on ourselves. Beating ourselves up and stressing out over what we did in the past will hurt our health more than any of those "bad" choices ever actually will. So work on cutting yourself a break this winter and treat yourself with grace! This will help you stay on track with your goals and healthy habits all year long. You simply just move on the next day. Drink some water, eat some healthy fat, and get out for a quick walk. Just pick up where you left off and move forward.

And that's the perfect tip to end on because it's truly the most important. Enjoy the rest of your winter, and take care of yourself!

Ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE web class with nutrition expert Kelly LeVeque.

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