Some people consider winter the best time of the year – they love snuggling up in front of a fire, enjoy comforting casseroles and delicious soups and can’t wait to hit the ski slopes.
But for summer lovers, the colder weather, grey skies and shorter days can be a bit of a downer, leaving them feeling flat and unmotivated.
If you fall into the latter camp, now is the time to introduce a few good habits to ensure that this year you thrive in winter, rather than just survive.
Here are our top winter wellbeing tips.
Eat well:Although it’s temping to turn to stodgy comfort foods (sticky date pudding anyone?), you still need to make sure you are eating plenty of nutritious wholefoods. They are key to keeping up your energy levels and fighting off winter bugs. Consider signing up for a subscription to Te Atatu Toasted cereals – not only will you know that you are starting every day with a healthy breakfast that’s been delivered to your door, you will also be saving money. Or if you are looking for a healthy snack to give you heaps of energy, check out our recipe for Pick Me Up Bliss Balls.
Seek the sunshine: If we are blessed with one of those crisp, clear winter days, make sure you get outside and enjoy it. You will be soaking up Vitamin D which will help stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder, a form of depression that's related to the change of season from summer to winter. Even if the weather is not great, you can wrap up and head to your favourite park or beach. It’s amazing how much better you feel after an invigorating walk.
Find your bliss:Relaxation is important at any time of the year but you might need to find a new chill-out ritual for the winter months. Try a candlelit bath, a guided meditation session in a warm, quiet room or even just turning off the TV or other screens and reading a book. Winding down, especially in the evening, will help you sleep better which will boost your mood and your immunity, making it easier to fight off winter colds and flus.
Stay social:It’s easy to catch up with friends in summer when the sun’s out and the BBQ is on. And while there is nothing wrong with the odd night on the couch with Netflix, hibernating for months is not good for any of us. Make it a priority to organise get togethers with the people that feed your soul. Or be the person who brings a little joy to someone who is struggling this winter.
Plan a getaway: The easing of travel restrictions means it’s now much easier to get overseas for a winter break in the sun. Keep an eye out for any good deals to the northern parts of Australia or the Pacific Islands. But if an overseas trip is not in the budget this year, you can still have a getaway closer to home. New Zealand has fantastic holiday destinations – enjoy the Bay of Islands during the quieter winter months, take the family for an action-packed adventure in Taupo or Rotorua or bask in the beautiful scenery of the South Island.
Move it:When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins which boost feelings of positivity and reduce stress hormones. So it’s important to stay active even if the weather is not co-operating. An exercise class at the gym is one option (some studies have suggested group exercise produces more endorphins) or find an online yoga or workout programme you can do in the lounge.
Accentuate the positive:Practicing gratitude has been shown to boost our mood so think of at least one thing every day that you are thankful for. Another way to activate those feel-good feelings are random acts of kindness – let someone in front of you in traffic, pay for a stranger’s coffee, take morning tea into work for no reason (this Gluten-free Ginger and Almond Slice always goes down a treat) or be generous with your compliments to friends, family or even people you don’t know. You will feel good and so will the recipients.
If you have any winter wellbeing tips to share, post a comment on our Facebook page.