Has anyone else noticed that the last few weeks have been pretty low in Energy (not just at the gym, but EVERYWHERE!) Anytime you ask someone how they are they respond with “Eh, It’s February.” We are in the home stretch of winter which means cabin fever is starting to get out of hand. (We get it, we’re right there with you!) Here are a few tips to try to overcome that mid-winter funk to get your through to the long sunny days of lake season:
Make your environment brighter
I understand this can be extremely difficult as most of us go to work in the dark, then leave in the dark to go home and sit in a cubicle in between, but doing want you can to catch a few rays can do wonders for your energy. On those rare sunny winter days snag the conference room for an hour with the big window, leave for lunch or coffee and take in those rays on the walk to & from your vehicle. When the option is there, opening blinds and curtains & sitting closer to windows can also help provide an extra dose of sunshine. If none of those are an option adding a Vitamin D supplement is a great way to help get that extra boost.
Certain foods, like chocolate, can help to enhance your mood and relieve anxiety (we recommend you opt for a dark chocolate option). Other foods, like candy and carbs provide temporary feelings of euphoria, but could ultimately increase feelings of anxiety and depression. If you’ve fallen off the clean eating wagon after the challenge, try getting back into an 80/20 mix of clean eating to regain that awesome post challenge feeling! Adding winter fruits (citrus fruits, pomegranate, etc) & veggies (root vegetables) are both delicious and a great way to mix up those clean recipes.
Probably no surprise that we’d recommend that you get moving to try to shake the mid-winter blues. Even if you can’t make it to the gym find a way to get moving, maybe you try rock climbing or yoga to mix things up. Try to plan ahead so you have what you need in your car to get that workout in, otherwise you’ll be tempted by that couch and Netflix subscription when you stop at home for clothes. I haven’t been able to prove it yet, but I’m pretty confident Netflix is about 109% more addictive in February… Another great motivator – Sign up for the OPEN! A weekly chance to go all out among friends and watch the PRs stack up!
Turn on the tunes
In a 2013 study, researchers showed that listening to upbeat or cheery music significantly improved participant’s mood in both the short and long term. So crank up that Bieber or whatever gets you dancing in the car on your way to wherever it is you are going! We’ll even help out with some sweet tunes during classes at Icehouse! * We do apologize for the Hall & Oats station day last week (but seriously who didn’t PR that day?!)
Ladling out soup at the local shelter or volunteering your time can improve mental health and life satisfaction. Don’t have time to volunteer? You could simply make a donation to a cause you are passionate about, or pay it forward next time you are at the Starbucks drive through. Even something as simple smiling at people you encounter throughout the day, verbally thanking someone for something they have done for you, and asking someone “How are you?” (but making sure you are taking the time to listen to their answer) can turn someone’s day around. There is a lot you can do to help others in many different ways, which can in turn improve your own spirits… win-win!
Talking yourself into taking a walk when the temperatures plummet isn’t easy, but the benefits are big. Spending time outside (even when it’s chilly) can improve focus, reduce symptoms of SAD, and lower stress levels. If a walk isn’t enough for you take this opportunity to learn a new sports! Maybe you could try cross-country or downhill skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, or even Ice Fishing. There are many options to get outside, just make sure you dress properly for the weather!
The good news is…Spring is almost here! You’ve got this!
Courtney Shoemaker is a Co-Owner of CrossFit Icehouse and Flux, and in charge of the behind the scenes juggling to keep the Icehouse ship sailing smoothly. She is passionate about fitness and identifies as a CrossFitter, Weightlifter, Yogi, Skydiver & overall Shenaniganer.