Not a fan of the cooler months? Poor old winter gets a bad rap, doesn’t it? Cold days, bleak nights and waking up in the dark may even top your list of pet hates. The truth is, winter can be absolutely wonderful. All you need to do is tweak your mindset and make a few simple changes to your daily routine so you can wholeheartedly embrace the season. Who knows, you could even fall head over heels in love with the brisk air! Here are five can-do attitude-changers to kickstart your affair…
Here are 5 changes you need to make:Get your motor running
- Sound familiar? You drive home from work with the heater blasting, listening to the daily litany of bad news on the radio. You park and scurry inside, hunched against the cold, throw down your handbag and dial a takeaway place.
- Feel the love! You keep a woolly scarf and a beanie in your car. After work, you jump in, rug up, wind down the window, and tune in to a music station. The brisk air clears the mental debris of your working day and, before you know it, you’re singing! You arrive home feeling refreshed, drink a big glass of water and weigh up your dinner options.
- It’s good for you, too. When you dress to protect yourself from the elements, you can enjoy being outside, whatever the weather. Being outdoors, or even winding down the car window, also helps distinguish work time from ‘your’ time. Music, too, helps switch your brain from work mode to relaxation, lowers your blood pressure and may boost endorphin production, so it’s a great stress-buster. And, a glass of water temporarily dulls hunger which, in turn, helps you
to make better food choices.Wake up happy
- Sound familiar? The alarm rings shrilly. You dig yourself deeper under the covers, rationalising that it’s too cold to get up and that it won’t matter if you stay in bed for an extra half hour. Before you know it, you’re late, stressed and rushing out the door.
- Feel the love! You set your clock radio to the chatter of a zany breakfast show, or program your phone to wake you with a cheery Chipmunks’ song, wacky tune or YouTube music video. You take this as your daily signal to smile, get up, go to a window and survey the day. You stretch your arms above your head, find a clear patch of floor and do a few gentle yoga moves.
- It’s good for you, too. Humour sets a brighter tone for the day; even just smiling has been proven to evoke positive feelings, possibly because moving these facial muscles triggers endorphin production. Going to the window connects you to the outdoors (even if it’s still dark outside), and a weather check sets your mind for participation in the day. Doing just three Salute to the Sun yoga moves, for example, instantly warms your body. Bonus: you’ve started the day calmly, and in time to meet your first must-do.Feed your body and soul
- Sound familiar? It’s an icy afternoon, the sun has slipped behind a wall and the wind is whipping around corners with a vengeance. Frankly, you’re bored with being stuck indoors.
- Feel the love! You bring out the slow-cooker or casserole dish. You throw in chunks of your favourite meat, lots of chopped vegies, a herb or two and a little salt-reduced stock. You set the cooking temperature to low, then load up the DVD player with a workout DVD followed by a funny movie. By the time the final credits roll, the delicious aroma of your hearty meal wafts through your home.
- It’s good for you, too. You’ve added fun to your day. Pottering around can be relaxing but, if it triggers a flat feeling, have a few active plans up your sleeve. Include exercise to jump-start your endorphins, a satisfying meal, and a stimulating experience like watching a comedy with friends.Take to the floor
- Sound familiar? After dinner, you curl up on the lounge with a block of chocolate and switch on your favourite TV show. You fall asleep, then wake up feeling groggy.
- Feel the love! You’re on the right track with the choccie – if it’s dark and has a high percentage of antioxidant-rich cocoa. Try breaking off just two or three squares, eat them slowly, then do a few stretches. Use a towel looped over your foot to raise one leg, keeping it straight as you pull the towel towards you. Take it to the right side, then the left, back to the middle and down to the floor. Repeat with your other leg.
- It’s good for you, too. Come spring, you’ll be moving more, which means you’re burning more kilojoules, lengthening your muscles and loosening your joints. Plus, you’ve stayed awake until bedtime – which should be about the same time each night.Phone a friend
- Sound familiar? It’s 10.30am, you’ve done all the housework so sit down with a coffee, a biscuit and a magazine. After an hour, you’re still sitting there, you feel chilly and look for something else to snack on, as lethargy sets in. Lunch feels ages away.
- Feel the love! You ring a friend and arrange to meet nearby, slip into comfy shoes and put a few dollars in your pocket. You pick up takeaway coffees and set off for a walk and talk, hardly noticing the hills, and return home by lunchtime.
- It’s good for you, too. Exercise is a proven mood-booster, and research says there are benefits to drinking two to three cups of coffee a day. Combined, these activities will banish mindless munching.
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