Daily Resolutions Tip of the Day: In winter it’s all too easy to get home from work, curl up with Netflix, and call it a night. Instead, this week, break winter’s spell and call someone you keep meaning to connect with but you’re both usually “so busy.” Having a real phone catch-up can be a pick-me-up for you both.
It’s easy to let the frigid temps and shorter days of winter wreak havoc on just about every aspect of your life—your mood, your energy levels, everything right down to your skin and hair.
But, while there’s no fighting the need for boots and parkas, there’s no reason to let the season totally tank your well-being. In fact, Terry Walters, best-selling author and clean eating guru, says winter can be an especially healthy time—if you know how to handle it. And she’s got plenty of ideas in her new book Eat Clean Live Well.
“[Winter’s] a time of quiet and looking within,” Walters says. “It’s a special opportunity to have a whole season that is inward looking, slow, quiet, and dark.”
Here are seven of her tips for embracing the season and making it work for you:
1. Don’t let hibernation wreck your (pretty awesome) eating habits. So you’re more home-bound than usual when it’s 30 degrees out. Make things easier on yourself by stocking up on nutritious staples like these, not junk. That way, “you don’t have to muster up strength to resist something in your pantry,” Walters says.
2. Talk to your BFF to stay on your health game. If your resolution involves eating better or getting in shape, don’t just write down what you’re eating or when you’re working out; tell your bestie, co-worker, or favorite instructor so you can be held accountable. “I’ve noticed that if I food journal for myself, I’m more likely to lie,” Walters admits. “If I say I’m going to send it to someone, I won’t.”
3. Go be among the people. Maintaining a sense of connection is a bonafide mood-booster.
4. You also have permission to get a massage and sleep in. If ever there’s a time for these two awesome, all-too-rare things, it’s now. (Yay!) “Self-care is important all of the time, but there is a greater opportunity in the winter to see it, since we aren’t running around as much,” Walters says. “It’s a great time to heal something that we maybe overlook other times of year—catch up on sleep, read a book, get a massage, or take a walk with a friend.”
5. And just generally sloooow down. “When we slow down long enough to connect and breathe—it can be 10 minutes or half an hour—it creates stillness that is healing,” Walters says. Embrace the feeling of calm and quiet in the air around you and give yourself permission to just be.
6. Spend time outdoors. Slow can be good, but it’s also especially important to get outdoors in the winter, Walters says. “I run 12 months out of the year. People think I’m crazy, but I always come in and feel like I have accomplished something—and that winter isn’t dominating me,” she says. “When you’re part of the season and not just dealing with it, you learn more about yourself and it can be invigorating.” Plus you’re getting some much-needed vitamin D.
7. Don’t beat yourself up. Okay, so there’s a foot of snow on the ground and you missed your morning spin class. You’re trying, and you’re human—so be kind to yourself. “The truth is, I love pizza. I have no plans of taking it out my diet,” Walters says. “Self judgement does more harm than almost anything.” —Molly Gallagher