Beat The Winter Blahs
According to T.S. Elliot – and many others – “February is the cruelest month.” With short days, cold nights, dreary weather and (seemingly) no end to winter in sight, it’s easy to see why this time of year makes people want to hunker down and hibernate until warmer weather arrives. But staying indoors and staying sedentary is actually one of the worst things you can do for your health and your mood. Staying active in the winter months, both mentally and physically, will help you stay engaged, energized and motivated, getting you ready to tackle the warmer months ahead. Here are five easy ways to stay happy and healthy this February.
When it’s grey and gloomy outside, it’s easy to stay indoors and bow out of social engagements. However, isolating yourself has been shown to lead to lack of motivation, lower energy and even depression. So, call up a friend and go out for coffee (or meet at someone’s house). Join a common interest group like a knitting circle or book club. Or, if getting out isn’t always a safe option, call or skype friends and loved ones for a heart-to-heart chat.
Get Geared Up
One of the biggest reasons we stay indoors during the winter months is because it’s cold and we don’t have the proper winter attire. Guess what? This is the perfect time to buy coats, boots and winter accessories, since stores are clearing these out to make way for spring fashion. Pick up some warm outerwear, get sturdy shoes with good traction and you’ll be ready to safely venture out.
Work Up a Sweat
We all know that exercise is one of the best ways to stay healthy, and you don’t have to do a lot to reap the benefits. A walk in your neighborhood or nearby park can get your blood pumping, plus give you a dose of fresh air and sunshine. Find a walking buddy to keep you accountable or join a walking group in your area. When you don’t want to face the cold, pop in an exercise DVD or stream one online. Joining a fitness center is another great way to stay active – and you can probably still get sign-up specials this early in the year.
Just Get Moving
Working out is great, but you don’t even have to do that in order to stay active. Get up and out of your chair every hour and walk around your home. Stretch, go from room to room or spend a little time tidying up. Any form of activity is a good form of activity, and if you’re getting out of your chair and on your feet, you’re doing something beneficial for your health.
Exercise Your Grey Matter
Working your mind is just as important as working your body. Staying mentally active helps keep you sharp, staves off depression and can also help keep cognitive decline at bay. Find a hobby you enjoy, like crosswords, reading, learning a new skill, doing a puzzle or anything else that gets your mind engaged and neurons firing. Keeping your brain stimulated will improve your health, your memory and your mood.