Winter Blues

How to successfully weather the cold

November 29, 2017

How to successfully weather the cold

November 29, 2017

“Winter is coming” – so why don’t we make the most of it?

The weather is steadily getting colder and the days are getting shorter. We are approaching that dreadful time where it’s already dark once we leave the office. The cold weather signals our body to calm down, get lazy and prepare for the upcoming winter. We seem to lose our motivation around the same time the trees lose their leaves. Thanks for nothing, evolutionary-approved genetics. However, we have a few simple tricks that will help you stay positive and motivated in the wintertime.


The most obvious reason for being in a bad mood during winter is the lack of daylight. Assuming a regular 9 to 5 working schedule, we have little to no time to soak up health-promoting vitamin D. But how can the sun help us beat fatigue and lethargy? The main reason is connected to the hormone melatonin, which our body produces at night to let us sleep like a baby. Sunlight is the antidote for melatonin, it helps our body to reduce the melatonin concentration in our blood and to feel more awake. So make sure to get your daily dose of sunshine, if you don’t want to turn into a sleepy zombie by early February. Try to sneak in at least 15 minutes every day, e.g. with a little stroll after lunch, because regular windowpanes will filter the UV light that cures our drowsiness.


Whilst summer is the perfect time for fresh fruits and healthy salads, winter feels more like opulent dinners and Christmas candy every day from October to January. But especially in the wintertime, our body needs those vitamins and micronutrients more than ever to stay healthy and happy. Let’s get one thing straight: what happens at the Christmas dinner table, stays at the Christmas dinner table. For other winter days, there are a lot of healthy recipes that will make us feel better, for example comforting red lentil soup or healthy pumpkin fries.


You guessed it, working out is – of course – a great way to overcome our inner sloth. And we’re not even talking about the “I’ll work out every day, lose 40 pounds and quit smoking” type of New Year’s resolutions because those usually only last a few days. Studies have proven that working out two to three times a week has a significant positive impact on our wellbeing – sounds doable. As starting a workout is usually the biggest struggle, set a low goal for yourself, e.g. five minutes of sports. Do some squats and sit-ups during the next commercial break. Afterwards, you’re free to stop immediately and return to your beloved couch. Fun fact: in those 300 seconds, your endorphin levels have most likely skyrocketed and you’ll keep on moving. By the way, you don’t need to run through the snow for hours or register a secondary residence in the gym: a quick and dirty 20-minute workout is absolutely sufficient.


Let’s face the truth: Sometimes our batteries are just empty and all we want to do is relax in bed and binge-watch our favourite TV series. That’s ok because when our body asks for rest, we should listen. But to prevent this occasionally occurring Netflix-syndrome from becoming chronic, it is good to have some routines up our sleeves. Routines are known for making it easy to do things, but they also make it hard to not do things. Therefore, we must make sure to establish healthy habits asap, as long as there is still some intrinsic motivation left. And suddenly the question “Do I have to go to the gym today?” changes to “Of course I’ll go to the gym today, it’s Thursday!”.


Image by stocksolutions/Shutterstock

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