The winter months tend to hinder our wellness goals, especially for those of us living in areas with a colder climate. Many people go into hibernation mode, become more lethargic, and overindulge. Local gyms and fitness centers are packed with people attempting to work off that "winter fluff," tackle their New Year's resolutions, and get back on the wellness wagon. In light of this, I compiled a list helpful tips so the winter months don't become a hindrance to your wellness goals.
1. Don't let exposure be your excuse.
Our social calendars this time of year tend to be way overbooked. It's as if we have been invited to every celebration, gathering, and work party on top of all the normal school and family obligations. And we all know that where there are joyful people—there is almost always celebratory food. The best way to plan for this is to prepare! Here are a few things to consider:
- Pack healthy snacks you enjoy and take them to work with you. Leave them in your drawer or lunch bag, or have them prior to your event as a substitute. You are less likely to overindulge at the event if you plan ahead.
- Eat small portions of food offered while at events. Try opting for smaller plating options.
Sure, it's OK to indulge once or twice, but don't let the exposure be your excuse! If you're going to give in to temptation, be mindful about it! And whatever you do, do not take any leftovers home!
2. Don't skip your workouts.
Studies show that the winter season, daylight saving times, and holidays are the time of year where people tend to gain weight. And it's totally understandable to want to rush home after work and snuggle up rather than sweat it out. So make sure to add in some extra fun and motivation! Host workout or step challenges with friends, family members, or co-workers to ensure you are not slacking on your physical activity. If you know you have a planned event in the evening, get your workout done earlier in the day—your body will thank you!
3. Be more mindful of your fluid intake.
Fluid increase is crucial this time of year. Things tend to "dry up" this time of year, so apply extra lotion, moisturizer, turn on the humidifiers, and, of course, drink more high-quality water! Here are some tips for increasing your fluid intake:
- Try adding fruit or herbs to your water for an added delight. My favorites are lemon and mint.
- Use a straw! Studies show that drinking from a straw is a more subconscious task, and you are more likely to drink more.
- Try some green tea. Drinking green tea helps to boost metabolism which can assist with decrease in weight gain. Green tea has other added benefits that can improve brain function and physical activity, which is especially needed this time of year.
- For those of us who drink alcohol, don't indulge in more than one or two drinks. Know your limit, and, of course, drink responsibly!
4. Spend time alone.
The holidays are over, and most of us have had some much-needed quality time with loved ones. Now it's time to spend time with yourself! The festive season tends to be the time of year when most of us give more of ourselves to others. For some of us (especially if you often give all year long) this can become mentally and emotionally draining! I am all for spreading the love, but make sure you leave some of that kindness, gratitude, and generosity for YOU. Take some alone time to reflect or meditate. Remember, you can't spread love from an empty cup.
5. Let it go.
The winter months can be draining for us all! There's so much to do, so let go of anything negative that may be holding you back. Don't dwell on past disagreements with loved ones, and don't beat yourself up over that piece of chocolate you had. Let go of guilt, shame, negative self-talk, inadequacies, expectations, fears, judgments, and doubts. Have fun! Enjoy time with your loved ones and, most importantly, with yourself. Be joyful, be merry, and be accepting. Remind yourself daily of your own greatness.
I will leave you with my personal mantra: "I know my heart, and I know my intentions." Try repeating this to yourself, take a deep breath, and let. it. go.
I hope we are all able to conquer our wellness goals this winter season!
Iris L. Mendez is a mental health professional, certified wellnesscoach, and blogger dedicated to spreading awareness on mental andphysical health. She enjoys empowering, inspiring, and motivating herclients to live healthier, happier, holistic lives through fitness,nutrition, and mindfulness.