If you’re like me, this is the time of year when it’s hardest to keep your spirits up. You’re tired of the cold, it’s hard to wake up to a pitch-black bedroom, and the drab colors of nature make you crave the beauty of spring.
I hate to break it to you, but if you live anywhere in the northern half of the United States, it may not feel like spring for at least another month. I know…not very encouraging, right?
BUT, there are strategic steps you can take to re-energize yourself in these final weeks of winter…even if spring feels a lifetime away.
1. Make sure you’re getting your vitamins. Sometimes fatigue is a result of your body working to compensate for lack of good nutrition. Eat healthful fruits and veggies, and skip refined sugars whenever possible. If you want, keep a multivitamin handy for busy days when you can’t keep track of what passes through your mouth. But don’t let it be a crutch. Nothing works better than making good food choices the first time around. Your body and emotions will thank you for it!
2. Move at least 5 minutes every hour. This is especially important if you work in a sedentary job. Take a short walk around the office or stretch your muscles. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, join in your kids’ playtime. A popular wintertime activity at my house is creating obstacle courses – We make tunnels out of piano benches, obstacles with couch pillows, use the stairs, and so on. Whatever you’ve got lying around, put it to good use. Oh, and don’t just watch your kids do the course; give it a try too! If you can get a full workout at the gym, that’s great. But on your non-gym days, take advantage of the metabolism boost that movement can bring.
3. Don’t shy away from outdoor activities just because it’s cold. As long as you won’t get hypothermia, get outside and do something active. Take a brisk walk (both temperature and pace), go sledding with your family, or have a snowball fight. The fresh air will invigorate you and get your endorphins pumping. Not to mention you’ll get some much-needed Vitamin D.
4. Focus on gratitude. Yes, winter brings lots of reasons to complain – freezing cold temps, snow-packed roads, stir-crazy kids, germs galore. But every opportunity to complain is also an opportunity to be thankful. How can you turn your gripes into gratitude? How different would your day look if you focused on all the good things in your life instead of the crummy ones? Try starting your day by writing 3-5 things you’re thankful for. Then end your day with 3-5 more. Can you imagine how much better you’ll feel?
If you need inspiration to get started, meditate on these words from Psalm 111.
2 How amazing are the deeds of the Lord!
All who delight in him should ponder them.
3 Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.
His righteousness never fails.
4 He causes us to remember his wonderful works.
How gracious and merciful is our Lord!
5 He gives food to those who fear him;
he always remembers his covenant.
6 He has shown his great power to his people
by giving them the lands of other nations.
7 All he does is just and good,
and all his commandments are trustworthy.
8 They are forever true,
to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.
9 He has paid a full ransom for his people.
He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever.
What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!
ONE SIMPLE STEP: Choose at least one of these tips to incorporate into your week. If you’re not sure where to start, begin with a gratitude list!
ONE STEP FURTHER: Take the gratitude challenge and write 3-5 things you’re thankful for at the start of your day and 3-5 more at the end of the day. See if you can do this every day of the week. Then add one or two of the other tips to maximize your energy boost.
*flower and snow photo by Vakhrushev Pavel/BigStock.com