Winter Blues

Winter is creeping up on us in New York state. Snow has been falling regularly and the temperature is steadily dropping into the single digits. With the cold creeping in, I find it harder to get myself outside and easier to eat junk foods. Here are some tips to help you get out of the cold weather funk and into a better routine.

  • Join a gym or do in-home exercises: We have a treadmill which means that even when it’s snowing and entirely too cold/icy for me to enjoy long bouts of fresh air, I can still get cardio in. I enjoy the pre-programmed incline exercises on my treadmill that mimic hiking. If you don’t have a treadmill, you can do any home exercises. Now is a great time to start an exercise program if that’s your thing or start your own routine. Jump-roping is a great exercise if you have some safe open space in your home – the exercises don’t take a lot of room, the equipment is easy to store, and it’s fun! You can also try out ab exercises such as bicycle crunches, sit-ups, and planks.
  • Take the stairs: Instead of using the elevator at work every day, walk the stairs. It may not seem like a lot, but it’s a great habit to get into. Also, try parking farther away from the store you are shopping at so you have to walk further. Just please make sure the area is well lit and you are safe first.
  • Swap out your comfort food favorites: The winter months always have me craving warm comfort foods. Instead of mashed potatoes loaded with butter, try a baked sweet potato with salsa. Try a vegan chili recipe or vegetable soup for a healthy meal. Swap out that hot chocolate for an herbal tea. Making healthy choices during the holiday season will leave you feeling less bloated and guilt-free.
  • Get out of the house: I often find myself cooped in the house when its freezing cold outside which can increase my anxiety and make any bout of seasonal depression worse. Sometimes I have to just force myself to get out of the house, no matter how much I want to stay indoors. Even if you are just going to the store to pick up a carton of almond milk, get out of the house every day.
  • Drink a lot of water: Even though you aren’t sitting in the summer heat, you still need to hydrate! Make sure to drink plenty of water. I am horrible at this. When I am home, I will go until the afternoon without drinking any water. I just completely forget to drink water when I am at home. It’s a work in progress. So don’t be like me…drink plenty of H2O.
  • Indulge yourself: It’s okay to indulge in your guilty pleasures at times. Does the holiday season get you in the mood for baking? Try out a new recipe! There are so many awesome recipes available online that are vegan, delicious, and easy! I recently pinned the recipe for the “cranberry blueberry crisp” that I made for Thanksgiving. It was super delicious and easy enough for me to figure out (which is really saying something). Check out the recipe on my “Vegan Baking” board at Love Always Elizabeth on Pinterest.
  • Do what you love: I have crocheted since I was about thirteen years old and every winter I have the urge to start creating new items. I’ve already crocheted several scarves, but I hope to do DIY projects this year too. Now is the time to get your craft on and find your creative outlet.
  • Reset for the upcoming year: With the year winding down, now is the time to evaluate how the past months have gone and to reset for the upcoming year. What goals would you like to make for next year? What would you like to change or do differently in the upcoming months? Now is the time to evaluate these things (such as time management) and spend time setting goals for the future.

 

Winter is such a beautiful time of the year. It’s full of family time, holidays, amazing food, and so many other memories to cherish. Don’t let the cold weather blues bring you down this year. Seasonal depression is real and if it’s something that you experience, it may be time to talk to your doctor about possible solutions (such as vitamin D supplements) if applicable.

Take care of your physical and mental wellness.

Love Always,

Elizabeth

 

Personal Fitness

Let me premise this by saying that I am not an exercise expert by any means. I am, however, someone who realizes the importance of being active. I have tried countless exercise plans and always find difficulty with following them. I will start off loving the regimen, but then will dread it a few days in. I will tell myself that “I don’t feel like it” and then I will end up not doing any exercise at all. So, recently, I learned that I need to just listen to my body and do what feels good to me that day. If you find yourself in an exercising slump, keep on reading.

  • Use your surroundings: One of my favorite new exercises only needs a staircase.  I put one foot up on the second step and my hands on the stairs where comfortable. Then I switch my feet (right on stairs and left on floor – left on stairs and right on floor). I will do this as fast as I can for as long as I can. It’s kind of like mountain-climbers, stair-climbers, and jogging all-in-one. Also, we have a metal bar in an open doorway (I’m not entirely sure what the intended purpose is, but it’s super sturdy) that I will attempt pull-ups on and do abdominal exercises with. You could also do “chair steps” by placing a sturdy chair against a wall and stepping up and then back down continually. There are so many opportunities for exercising while using your surroundings!
  • Cater to your time: When figuring out what you will do for exercise, you first will need to figure out how much time you have. If you only have ten minutes, you might not want to commit yourself to running three miles. You don’t need a ton of time to get active. Little bits of exercise at a time adds up if you are persistent. Even if you just have enough time to do fifty sit-ups now and a mile on the treadmill later, it is better than nothing!
  • Every little bit helps: Don’t have an “all or nothing” mentality. That’s something that I have learned to overcome. I always felt that if I couldn’t do a complete exercise routine, then what’s that point? A few months ago, before I started having some health issues, I was practicing handstands every day. That alone helped with my ab definition and that’s when I realized that the little things really do help. No matter how fun they may be.
  • Take it easy: Don’t be so hard on yourself! It’s been really difficult for me to start exercising again. I used to run at least three miles a day and use weight machines regularly. That was about four years ago. Now, running one mile is a maximum for me. Ten pound weights are comfortable. At first, I was mad at myself. I thought, “how could I let myself go” so badly? I hated the idea of exercising because I couldn’t accomplish what I used to. But then I realized that it was a process before too. I started off with one mile and worked my way up. I eventually cut my mile time down by over four minutes. But it was all a process. And it will be process to get back to where I was. So I am taking a deep breath and giving myself grace because life is a learning process and it’s not always up-hill.
  • Listen to your body: Some days I feel like doing ab workouts and walking/hiking outside. Sometimes I feel like running and/or jump roping. Other times, I feel like just relaxing and letting my body rest and that’s okay. I’ve learned a lot about my body over the past year. When I am frustrated or angry, I feel the urge to run. It’s almost like a craving. It’s my way of releasing tension and being able to relax. Find your release and figure out how your body communicates with you.
  • Love yourself through the process: Don’t wait until you hit your goal to love your body. Because once you hit that goal, there will always be another one. Learn to love yourself and your body now. “Flaws” and all. Your body is beautiful and this process is about feeling your best. This is your first step.

 

Exercise and fitness isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. Find what works for you and what your body needs.

Love Always,

Elizabeth