happiness

Winter is in full swing and while it can be a beautiful time of year, these cooler, shorter days can certainly impact our mental and physical health. We’re spending less time outdoors soaking up that all-important vitamin D (our happiness vitamin), leaving us feeling fatigued, sluggish, and unmotivated.

As our moods dip along with the temperature, it’s easy to get pretty bummed out. But like with any season of transition, there is no better time to get grounded, calm, and connected to your body and lifestyle goals. These four key steps will help you maintain a balance and connection to your nutrition, fitness, and well-being from November to March.

Nourish

This time of year, the produce aisle is full of antioxidant and fiber-rich choices. From sweet potatoes to parsnips, pumpkin, squash and Brussels sprouts, your body will feel strong, stable, and satiated. Add in anti-inflammatory foods like apples and onions, which are rich sources of quercetin, and spices like turmeric, cumin, cloves, garlic, and rosemary to keep any aches and pains away.

Lastly be sure to include both B vitamin–rich foods such as naturally gluten-free grains and raw seeds, plus vitamin D–rich foods like wild fish, nuts, seeds, and organic eggs. Supplement with cod liver oil and emulsion Vitamin D to really top up your vitamin D tank.

Move

There isn’t any one type of movement that’s right for fall or winter versus the rest of the year. The key to staying motivated is to stick to what you love, despite weather or climate! If you love running, shift your daily run to the warmest and lightest time of the day, and wear layers you can peel off as you heat up. If swimming or rowing is your thing, switch to an indoor pool or rowing machine during the off-season. No matter the year, your body is always craving a good sweat session—give it what it wants.

Flow

Not feeling your regular intense workout? Yoga is not only an amazing way to move your body, but it can also help lift your spirits, reduce stress, improve quality of sleep, and promote mindfulness.

This can be a stressful time of year, returning to work routines, getting children back to school, and the demands on our time and finances from the upcoming holidays. This is where the practice of yoga, a journey that never truly ends, can help teach us to relax and take ownership of this transitional time.

Here are three postures you can do for a few minutes each day to ward off stress and invite balance into your daily life:

1. Warrior II

Warrior II

2. Exalted Warrior

Exalted Warrior

3. Triangle Pose

Triangle Pose

Self-Care

This is the perfect time to open your calendar and schedule yourself a few soul sessions. Perhaps participating in a guided meditation or restorative yoga class, getting a massage or facial, or taking a long walk in nature. Infrared saunas and full-spectrum indoor lights can also help with your happy-hormone production. Or just spend an hour with some quiet music and journal your thoughts, taking note of how you are feeling both mentally and physically. Make a list of the things you are grateful for in your life. Above all, be kind to yourself. Listening to your body and taking care of it will be key to a healthy, happy winter season.

Jenn Pike is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and bestselling author of The Simplicity Project: A Simple, No-Nonsense Approach To Losing Weight & Changing Your Body Forever!

Twitter: @simplicityjenn | Instagram: @jennpike | Facebook.com/jenn.pike.3