As we settle into the cooler months, there’s no need to wait until January 1st to set some goals and intentions for the coming year. Creating cold weather goals can help off-set unhealthy tendencies such as avoiding exercise, over-indulging during the holidays, or hunkering down with too many technology distractions in lieu of spending time with family and friends.
The holidays are nearly upon us, and it’s time to be proactive with our health and well-being. Here are seven goals to set for a healthier mind and body this winter. Which will you adopt first?
1. Commit or re-commit to a reasonable and healthy fitness regimen
No matter our age, our bodies need a healthy dose of cardio exercise (recommended at 150 minutes per week), strength training, and balance/flexibility training. However, in the winter months, it’s easy to avoid workouts because the outdoors might not be quite as accessible, because the days are shorter and we’re tired, or simply because we don’t want to brave the cold even for a quick jaunt from the car to the gym. Try designing cold weather workouts which may include taking an ice skating lesson, working out to a video at home, so you don’t need to leave the house, or checking out a new noon-time fitness class.
2. Battle technology addiction before it sets in
Arguably, we’re all addicted to technology to some degree. However, there are varying degrees, and it’s even more tempting during the winter months. Setting a timer to control your screen time or downloading an app that tells you how often you check your phone can be a reality check. Severe technology addiction may require treatment similar to drug addiction.
3. Incorporate a meditation practice into your daily living
Meditation doesn’t need to be boring or take a long time. There are many methods from forest bathing to developing a healthier way of awakening in the morning. Meditation is a practice and light distractions such as a mantra, or counting mala beads, that can help quiet the mind. Meditation can be energizing in the mornings or soothing before bedtime.
4. Optimize your sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene is a series of rituals and best practices that tell your body and mind it’s time for bed. According to the Sleep Foundation, it can include removing all electronics from the bedroom, setting the thermostat between 60 – 67 degrees, and creating daily habits such as a bath and “sleepy tea.” Avoid caffeine after 3 p.m. and screens for at least two hours before bed.
5. Practice positive self-talk or cognitive reconditioning
We’re ingrained with the idea that sarcasm and self-deprecation are normal. However, how we talk to ourselves makes a huge difference in our overall well-being. Be mindful of how you speak to yourself and actively make an effort to achieve a kind inner dialogue. Talk to yourself like you would a child—encouraging, joyful, and positive. For many of us, this can be a huge challenge and may require the help of a therapist.
6. Try out a therapist if it’s not part of your health routine
Everybody can benefit from regularly seeing a mental health therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. However, you might need to meet with a few professionals before you find the right one for you. There are also options for virtual sessions if your schedule is packed.
7. Incorporate more healthy foods into your diet
Everybody has a diet, and it doesn’t necessarily mean low-calorie or bland foods. Experiment with a healthier plate and challenge yourself to try a new healthy ingredient at least once per week.
Enjoy a healthier, happier winter with seven goals that aren’t just a challenge, but a fun way to welcome chillier months.