Winter is often a season of feeling down, blue, extra tired and just generally unmotivated. Especially in areas where winter is long and cold, like Canada. It’s easy to stay huddled up in our homes nice and cozy and dare I say it, lazy. And hey, it’s perfectly fine to have a lounge day especially if it’s -20C outside, but it’s also important to stay active for our physical and mental health, and to do things that we enjoy so that we don’t get moody or too down in the dumps. I know that January has been a hard month for me, because I was ill and in hospital, also because my region is on lockdown, and I have no where to go and very little it seems (at times) to do.
So let’s get to it shall we? Here are some ways to stay active and upbeat during the cold winter months.
My husband is really missing his workouts at the gym. The gyms in our area have been closed for months now and he is just itching to get back to his regular routine. Even the pool in our building is closed. So how do we cope if we can’t go to the gym, or just don’t like gyms? We need to find a way to keep active in our homes or neighbourhoods. Youtube has a ton of channels devoted to fitness, and I’d recommend trying out a few to see what you like, and then get in a workout indoors. You can do yoga (which I hope to start doing myself soon) or you can do cardio. The great thing is you can do this on your own schedule, and if you don’t feel like doing an hour long workout, there are lots of videos that are twenty to thirty minutes long. If you have some old fitness DVDs you might want to pull those out too. Some places are offering virtual classes so check out your local studios and physio clinics to see what they offer.
Rather be outdoors? You might consider taking up running, or even just going for walks. Check out your cities trails and get walking. If the weather allows, you might even take out your bike and get in some activity that way. There may even some areas where you can go hiking as hiking trails are usually along long stretches of parks and wooded areas and social distancing is easy to adhere to.
Being Active with Pets
Pets really do a lot to improve your mental health. So if you are feeling a little down and need to include more activity in your life, take your dog out for a walk. Dogs love being outdoors and you can run and play with them in a dog park, or just enjoy an extra walk around the block with them. Getting outside with others pets like cats, might be trickier, but some people do leash train cats and even rabbits. I would not recommend simply throwing a leash or a harness on any pet that hasn’t been trained, but if you have a backyard and want to take the time to research how to safe do this with your non-canine pet, then go ahead. Just be sure that the leash/harness fits well, isn’t something the animal can become tangled up or wiggle out of, or can others injure them while wearing it. The safety of your pet must always come first.
Take Up a New Hobby
So not all hobbies require you to be physically active and that’s okay because a new hobby (or diving into a hobby you already have) is keeping your mind active, which in turn boosts your mood if it’s enjoyable and fun. So if you have ever been interested in origami, watercolours or even learning to play an instrument, it might be a good time to try out that hobby. This winter I am diving back into reading and crocheting and it’s certainly done wonders for my mood. Some indoors hobbies you might consider are: knit/crochet, writing poetry, drawing, origami, jewellery making, painting, polymer clay art, and even photography.
take a Course/Learn a New Skill
All right, so you don’t have to take a course to learn a new skill, but it can help. There are lots of online sites that allow you to pay to take a course in a topic of interest, such as computer programming or botany if you like that sort of learning setting. Or, you could self teach yourself a lot through Youtube and books. Learning something new always keeps your mind engaged and you certainly won’t feel blah if you are immersed in a topic that is particularly fascinating to you. You could even learn from a friend or family member through a Zoom chat or FaceTime–depending on what the topic or skill is.
Join a Club
This might sound middle school-ish, but you could always join a book club or knitting circle (I’m sure other crafters join together for similar types of social gatherings) with friends, or a local community centre or store. Now, during Covid and lockdown, this might be more tricky, but they may be hosting such things virtually, or you could organize a club yourself virtually as well. Check out Facebook groups too, as those might have options since that platform was online originally. I’m in a book club with a few friends, and although we meet about once every eight weeks, it is fun to gather for that hour or so (even on Zoom) to share our thoughts and chat.
Whatever you do, don’t let winter get you down in a rut. It’s easy–so so easy— to just lie on the couch and binge watch Netflix or scroll through your Insta and Twitter feed, but there is so much you can do that is fun and good for your body and mind. The cold weather and longer nights don’t have to drag you down, so be sure to find something enjoyable and get active and engaged in that something–or somethings. You’ll feel so much better for it.
What do you do to stay active and engaged in the winter months? Share in the comments below.