It’s hard to stay upbeat as grey skies descend. Freezing temperatures and biting winds drive us indoors, our beloved greenery starts looking a little bit sad, and skin irritations (hello eczema) – not to mention niggling colds that never seem to end – slowly drive us mad.
But winter doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. A few lifestyle tweaks can see you feeling happy and healthy until spring blossoms begin to bloom.
The Danes survive months of darkness and testing weather conditions by getting ‘hygge’ (pronounced ‘hooga’). Hygge most closely translates to ‘cosiness’, it means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. Specifically: lighting candles, brining greenery inside with pot plants and spending time with friends and family indoors often over a warming meal you’ve spent the better part of a day preparing. The Danish don’t fight the freezing temperatures, they embrace them. And cheers to happy, hygge hibernation.
Running outside freezing your ears off? Outdoor push-ups just giving you a dribbly nose? If the soggy winter weather is dampening your workout spirit, take your workouts indoors. Consider investing in a gym membership to maintain your motivation through the colder months.
Cold and flu season kicked off early this year. Stay vigilant about germs when you’re out and about in public: avoid touching your face (especially after public transport), wash your hands regularly, and carry hand disinfectant in your purse. And if you are struck down with the lurgy, be smart about it. Stay home from work to avoid spreading your germs and only return to exercise when your body feels ready. It will tell you when.
Nothing helps you stay in shape like the threat of wearing a bikini in Mid-July. Try to book a mid-season getaway to somewhere sunnier. St Tropez might break the bank, but a long weekend in tropical Port Douglas or a week away in Fiji might be something you can budget for.
Winter means one thing to this writer: eczema. My solution is to take a week off in July to get some sun on my skin. Otherwise I seem to suffer through until September. Avoiding scalding showers, taking some time off from socks, long sleeves and scarves to let my skin ‘breathe’ and lathering up with coconut oil seems to relieve some of the discomfort – but nothing fixes the irritation quicker than a change in temperature and some vitamin D.
Thirst isn’t really a concern in the cooler months, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get dehydrated. Sipping on water will ensure you won’t mistake dehydration for hunger and help you avoid suffering from sluggish bowel movements.
Winter produce typically takes a little longer on the stove, but the pay-off is rich flavourful darkly coloured veg that makes your tummy sing! Cook with beets, pumpkin, potato, and chard, favour soups and stews, and use cheaper cuts of meat in the slow cooker for high-protein warming meals that are just as healthy as your summer salads.
Two words: duck down. Invest in a coat that actually blocks the wind and keeps the chill out. It will change your life.
Words by Melanie Katz from Fernwood Fitness