Let’s face it; it can be a bit of a struggle staying motivated during winter. The weather is chilly, the mornings and evenings are dark, and the allure of curling up on the sofa is strong. But while the odd session in front of the TV never hurt anyone, you’ll feel much better if you resist the urge to hibernate until September. Here are five ideas to keep your motivation intact during the coldest months of the year.
If there are aspects of winter that often get you down, put solutions in place to make them more manageable. For example, if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) due to the reduced amount of sunshine, plan to get outside for ten minutes every day – weather permitting. Alternatively, invest in a natural sunlight lamp. If you hate getting out of bed in the cold, set your heater on a timer to start warming the room an hour before your alarm goes off. To make the season pass more quickly, start a short-term project that can be completed indoors, with an aim to having it finished by spring.
Just because the sun gets up later in winter, it doesn’t mean that you should too. Actually getting out of bed is the hardest part of getting up for most people. Once you’ve done that, you’re away laughing. So, make sure to stick to your regular routines. Rise at the same time each day to train your body clock to wake you naturally at that time. Keep your regular gym schedule. Exercise produces feel-good endorphins and makes you physically and mentally more resilient, which is especially important during winter. Schedule a regular lunchtime or weekend catch-up with friends. Getting out of the office or the house will break up an otherwise dull day.
It’s much easier to get motivated for activities if you have a friend with which to share them. Whether you’re going to the gym, out for a walk, enrolling in a course or even reading a book, having a buddy will help you stick with it. The power of the encouragement you give each other should not be underestimated. A survey performed by Indiana University’s Department of Kinesiology found that while couples who went to the gym alone had a 43 percent dropout rate, those who went together had a dropout rate of only 6.3 percent.
One way to make winter more pleasurable is to allow yourself a few winter-only luxuries. Perhaps that’s a season pass to your favourite rugby or league team, Gold Class movie tickets or a few meals out. Treats could include special items of warm clothing, from stylish coats to fuzzy bed socks. Or maybe you’d like to explore different varieties of season-appropriate warm beverages, like gourmet teas or coffees. If the colder weather has you craving chocolate, you’ll be pleased to know that small amounts can be good for you. Go for good-quality dark chocolate with a cacao content of 70 percent to get your fix and benefit from the antioxidant properties of the flavonoids it contains.
Make the most of the cold weather by taking a skiing holiday at one of New Zealand’s picturesque ski fields. Or if you prefer to escape the winter weather altogether, it’s a fantastic time to visit the Pacific Islands. Temperatures are balmy, and humidity and rainfall are low from May to September. A week in the tropics towards the end of winter is a great way to top up on sunshine and gives you something to look forward to all season long.