Yep, it’s that time of year. The days are becoming shorter, the nights are longer, carbohydrates all of a sudden seem irresistible and the uggies and winter woollies are being dragged out from the back of the closet. Yep, it’s winter time.
It feels as though getting out of bed has now become the biggest daily challenge, and all motivation to hit the pavement has flown out the window.
Winter is a time of hibernation and many of us dread this time of year. For some of us it comes with a side serve of flatness, exhaustion and just feeling downright crap, but it can actually be a really nourishing time for both the body and mind.
Here’s 5 of my top tips to embrace the winter chill and turn this time of year you actually look forward to…
Now I can already hear you saying “ARE YOU KIDDING?!”, but hear me out for a second! With cold winter weather comes much more indoor time. It’s often wet, rainy and freezing cold outside so it’s only natural to crave Netflix and chill, but more indoor time means less sunshine (And yes, I swear – the sun does still shine in winter!).
If you’re someone that feels moody, lethargic, sluggish and just a bit low during the winter months, it’s highly likely that you may be experiencing something called S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Seasonal Affective Disorder is related to lack of serotonin (that happy chemical in your brain), which is thought to have been affected from the sunlight. In summer, we receive loads of sunlight and Vitamin D (AKA the ‘sunshine’ vitamin) which assists in the production of serotonin and makes us happy.
Get outside for even just 10 minutes a day – walk around the block, eat your lunch in a park. I promise you’ll start feeling better in no time.
As soon as the alarm goes off in the morning, get straight out of bed. I know, I know, it’s cold and dark and the warmth of the bed is much more appealing, but once you’re up and about you’ll be full of energy and feeling good. When you hit the snooze button for too long, you actually do yourself more damage than good. But why? Because your body actually prepares itself for about 2 hours prior to waking up, increasing your body temperature so that you will wake up feeling refreshed. If you wake up and snooze again – your body thinks it’s a false alarm and goes back into sleep mode. The result? A tired, foggy and drowsy brain, all day long, and ain’t nobody got time for that!
Eat healthy carbs
I have no doubt you’re feeling the carb cravings kick in. I’m right there with you girl! It’s because your body is craving energy to keep it warm, and the easiest form of energy for the body to digest is carbohydrates (they are also incredibly comforting). The trick here is to fuel your body with healthy, slow releasing, nutrient dense carbs. Opt for home made sweet potato fries with guacamole, brown rice curries or thick veggie soups. Your waist line will thank you!
Make the most of the weather
To many people’s disbelief, it actually snows in Australia! Head up to the mountain with your pals and take a skiing or snowboarding lesson. Not only will you be out in the fresh mountain air, but it will give a new meaning to winter. Even the practice of trying something new will activate endorphins in your body and make you feel on top of the world (and not just on top of a mountain 😉). You never know, you might just fall in love with it!
Let’s face it, winter comes around every year. Without fail. So I hate to break it to you, but either you move to a place with endless summer, OR you embrace it. Winter is actually a wonderful time of year for reflection, looking inward and taking some much needed time out for you. I’m sure you spend a huge chunk of the year being active, social and getting outdoors, so just listen to your body, slow down and allow yourself to recharge. Start a new book, have your friends over for some soul fuelling movies or take some time out to pamper yourself at home. You might just come out the other side as a healthier and happier version of you!
Kate Williams is a holistic nutritionist and wellbeing expert. She is the founder of Retreat Yourself Box, a seasonal health and wellbeing subscription box service, that gets delivered to your doorstep seasonally to remind you to take a break and set up a retreat at home. She believes that if we don’t fill our own cups, then we can’t refill others cups.