Keeping energy and focus through the winter months is something I've struggled with since moving from Las Vegas to the Mid-West. I've compiled a list of things that have helped me stay positive, energetic and dedicated to improving my life even when my body wants to go into hibernation mode.
Wakeup shortly after sunrise and get out of bed
This sounds simple, but it can be extremely difficult when your bed is warm and cozy while outside is the opposite. Going back to sleep multiple times and waking up with half the day gone isn't fun or productive!
If you can't seem to get the energy on those gloomy days, I recommend a full spectrum light box.
It emits 10,000 lux and can literally give you energy and motivation by having it within 18'' of your face. I set it on my desk as I work on the site, when it turns off everyone in the room runs over to turn it back on. Let the reviews on Amazon speak for themselves. I personally love my light box during months when it gets dark too early.
Steep some green tea and loosen up
Instead of coffee, a typical cup of green tea has far less caffeine. I remember reading that caffeine is linked to impulse buying, couldn't find a source but talked to many people that believe it too!
Don't let your exercise routine get pushed to the back burner
It doesn't take long to get an intense workout in.. ~15-40 minutes of intense training is enough on most days.
Snack on a quality source of fat and protein if needed
Many Paleo advocates prefer to avoid snacking as they say it works better for their lifestyle. I however enjoy snacking on berries during my day as a nice change up to water or green tea.
Remember to keep your body filled with good fats, protein and calories! Calories are essential as much as the mainstream tries to make you think otherwise; Try running your car on E.
Bask in the sunlight
- For many folks, clouds takeover for a while in the later winter months. However, if you've experienced the warmth of the sun on a cold day, it's a great feeling. Almost kind of weird how the ambient air can be so cold while the sun still radiates on your skin. Not a scientist, but this is due to the UVA/UVB rays which have penetrating effects, similar to tanning beds. (The Health Ranger over at naturalnews.com seems to support tanning bed use and understands the importance of vitamin D for all)
Drink smoothies occasionally
It's always better to get your nutrients from whole foods, but occasionally a smoothie with low-glycemic fruit such as blueberries isn't bad. As long as you are using the blender instead of the juicer, you are fine. You want to consume the natural plant fibers that come with fruit. That is the whole purpose of the evolution of the fruit.
Drink plenty of water
Just because you're not sweating as much in the winter as you do in the summer, it doesn't mean that you need to consume less water. Signs of dehydration can creep up on you fast. I notice headaches and irritability from not drinking enough water.
Diet is of the upmost importance, but if you have your diet in check, supplements might be something to consider. Supplements have improved my life beyond belief and can speed up the recovery process when it comes to healing your body. Check out the health store for recommendations.
Don't assume you can be inconsistent with your diet or exercise routine and still get incredible results. Also, don't replace consistency and a solid clean diet that works for you with supplements instead.
Take more power naps
I recommend napping for about~25 min.
How long is a good nap? Source
- THE NANO-NAP: 10 to 20 seconds. Sleep studies haven’t yet concluded whether there are benefits to these brief intervals, like when you nod off on someone’s shoulder on the train.
- THE MICRO-NAP: two to five minutes. Shown to be surprisingly effective at shedding sleepiness.
- THE MINI-NAP: five to 20 minutes. Increases alertness, stamina, motor learning, and motor performance.
- THE ORIGINAL POWER NAP: 20 minutes. Includes the benefits of the micro and the mini, but additionally improves muscle memory and clears the brain of useless built-up information, which helps with long-term memory (remembering facts, events, and names).
- THE LAZY MAN’S NAP: 50 to 90 minutes. Includes slow-wave plus REM sleep; good for improving perceptual processing; also when the system is flooded with human growth hormone, great for repairing bones and muscles.
I know the cold weather can affect joint pain, arthritis and overall motivation, but you have to push through and stay physically active.
My mentality that I tell myself, friends and peers that I train with is, "picture yourself on the beach in the summer in 6 months.. if you keep training the way you are now, will you be happy the way you are going to look?" That should determine if you are being thorough enough.