Stay healthy while welcoming winter

Fall is upon us which means winter is right around the corner. Now depending on where you live, your fall weather might be on the more mild side. But for those of us in Canada, we could have a snowfall/blizzard basically any day now. So if you’re like me and want to curl up in a ball and stay in bed all day on those cold, rainy/slushy, dark days, this article’s dedicated to you. Read on and together we can kick winter’s butt and stay healthy!

 

Positivity & Mental Health

It’s hard not to feel down when your neighbourhood has gone from a bright and sunny bliss to a dark and grey abyss (killer rhymes, I know). But in all seriousness Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing and about 2-3% of Canadians will experience SAD at some point in their life. Now if you’re struggling with a mental illness, you need to seek out help from a professional. But if you’re not experiencing any serious mental health concerns, but you’re still feeling a little down about the weather, try your best to remain positive. Here are some of our tips for you to do at home:

  • Light some candles or incense on those particularly dark days
  • Take a warm bath with some natural salts or herbs (Pure chamomile is a great choice!)
  • Get comfy with a good book
  • Play with your pet/adopt a pet/go to a friend’s house that has a friendly pet. Who doesn’t get stoked when they’re around a cute little animal? 
  • Take up a new hobby like knitting, scrap-booking, photography or baking. 
  • Volunteer
  • Focus on cleaning and reorganizing one room in your house. De-cluttering is a great way to feel accomplished about your day. Don’t forget to donate everything you don’t need/use anymore.
  • Beat stress with the breathing: Relieving Stress with the breath

 

Eat right

You should be doing your best to eat right all year around and that goes without saying. However many people turn to comfort foods in the winter which tend to be packed with sugar, processed carbs, tons of sodium and other “junk”. So just because it’s cloudy and cold, doesn’t mean your nutrition should take a back seat. There are super healthy winter recipes to get excited about! Make a fruit pie with a whole grain crust, bake some yam fries, make a pad thai or some breakfast muffins, like our Matcha Zucchini Oat Muffins

The possibilities are endless! Maybe you don’t feel as prone to eating a salad as you did back in July, but you can opt for “hot salads” aka a veggie stir fry! Cooking hot foods when it’s cold outside is comforting and helps maintain yours body’s temperature.  

Also there’s even more reason to really think about what you’re eating. Research shows that depression and cardiovascular disease are both affected by diet, in similar ways. For example one study found that foods high in refined grains and added sugar were associated with increased odds of depression. Your gut health is just as important as your mental health, and they affect each other more than you think. So when it’s gross outside, cook something healthy and delicious to boost your energy, mood and health.

 

Exercise

Okay so you’re probably already aware of the benefits that come along with regularly exercising. But we all know it’s easier to go outside for a run/hike or workout when it’s beautiful and sunny. So when it’s cloudy and cold outside, you might need some extra motivation. You can sign up for a free trial pass with a gym close to your house, that way you’ll be indoors. Or buy a cheap set of weights and feel the burn at home! But if you prefer to get your sweat on out in the elements, invest in some warm workout clothes. Check out our board on Pinterest for some inspiration. 

An important thing to note is just like food, exercise has a key role in maintaining mental health. There’s such a major correlation between the two, that psychologists refer to it as the exercise effect. This is because any form of physical activity activates the release of dopamine in your brain.This proves to have enormous mood boosting effects.  Studies have shown exercise can treat anxiety, depression and those who are susceptible to panic attacks. A tip to remember is anytime you’re feeling noticeably sad or anxious, think about doing a quick workout.

Tip: Create a playlist with all of your favourite upbeat songs to listen to while you crush your workout!

 

Get excited 

Do some redecorating, DIY projects, baking or whatever else it is that get’s you excited about winter! Try altering up your meal prepping with some winter flavours. Remember when you would snack on nice cream during the summer? Go for some organic popcorn topped with cinnamon to snack on at work, make your own instant noodle cup or a healthy mug cake in the oven for dessert! Don’t forget to whip out your favourite tea to sip on! You can even celebrate with friends by having a potluck dinner, brunch, or a DIY high tea party.

It’s time to get cozy and embrace winter.

If you have a tip or recipe you want to share with us, tweet us! 

 

References:

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx