Surviving The Winter Slog

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Winter in New England is without a doubt breathtakingly beautiful. Frosted windows, plenty of snow, one incredible sunrise after another. However with less daylight, and limited time to perform our favorite activities, these long months can also bring challenges in terms of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Whether you enjoy hiking Hanging Rock, running Cliff Walk, or walking your favorite beach, warmer months offer plenty of sunshine and time outside. Without enough movement during the Winter, our bodies can experience an increase in stress, and our immune systems can become suppressed. Without enough fresh air and exercise we become more susceptible to symptoms associated with the common cold and the flu. Overnight our joints can feel stiffer and in the morning we can feel achy and tight. And yes, without enough physical exercise our emotional well-being can certainly be affected. With these things in mind, hitting the snooze button and sleeping for a few more hours may seem like the best option to combat the colder months ahead of us.  But let’s keep the winter wind on our backs, and find some balance. Here are some ways to battle seasonal stress, and beat the stagnation that can sometimes come along with the Winter months.

Maintain a Schedule

Being proactive with your time is important in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Allowing a little extra room in the morning for 10 minutes of meditation or a simple stretching routine may be beneficial. Jocco Willink, author, podcaster and retired United States Navy SEAL says, “The temptation to take the easy road is always there. It is as easy as staying in bed in the morning and sleeping in. But discipline is paramount to ultimate success and victory for any leader and any team.” Try to stay clear from the snooze button so that you can keep consistency in your schedule. It is important to rest when you can, and maybe take some time to sit quietly everyday. A study was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience explaining how just 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation daily can improve a person’s cognitive function. Figure out your requirements in order to live your best life-how much time do you need to feel fully awake in the morning? What daily activities can you perform consistently? Avoid taking on too much, set boundaries in terms of time and energy expelled on a day to day basis, stay involved but not so much you leave little to not time for yourself.

Eat Right  

Eating right all year round is essential. Specifically during the Winter it is important to eat a well-balanced diet to get all the essential vitamins and minerals your body is craving. Maybe start your morning with a bowl of Oats, which is a great option if you’re slacking on the fiber front. Add a tablespoon of peanut or almond butter to get some added protein. Try implementing turmeric and ginger into your diet to get all of their anti-inflammatory benefits. Remember, all year round, to drink alcohol and caffeine in moderation. Limit refined sugar and opt for something sweeter and more satisfying for the body, such as a handful of berries after dinner or a warm cup of cacao with hemp milk, cinnamon and turmeric. Both berries and cacao taste amazing and each are loaded with antioxidants, which can help to increase our body’s own immunity.

Remember Your Passion

It is so important to fight cabin fever with activities you love doing. Although hibernating when the temperature drops sounds rewarding, it is so important to keep spirits high by staying proactive with the things that make you smile. Maddie Bassinder, Licensed Massage Therapist and Aquidneck Island native, enjoys spending most of her time outdoors photographing sweet New England. Be sure to check out Maddie’s blog Winter Inspiration.

Blog by Sarah Shoen

Photo credit: Feature Image & Deer photographs are by Madeline Bassinder

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