By Kacie Wedel
The warm, sunny weather has all but gone. In comes the winter months with frigid temperatures and not a blue sky in sight. It’s not all bad though, we have the holidays to look forward to! And with the holidays we get to partake in feasts without end.
I often joke about piling on the weight this time of year. In reality, it does sometimes bother me. It’s hard to remain active when it’s a toasty 0º outside and I have a hot coffee and blanket calling my name. Frequently I’ll make excuses as to why I should put off focusing on my wellbeing. “It’s raining outside, I’ll go for a run tomorrow,” or “It’s cold and I’m tired, so maybe later.”
Nevertheless, it’s important that we keep that motivation we tend to have during the summer. If we don’t, we then start to feel sluggish and even depressed. It’s crucial that we learn to care for our whole selves, not just our physical self, in order to truly embrace our bodies.
Let’s talk about a few ways to do just that!
Your mental health is essential in living a happier life. It’s no secret that 2020 has been a stressful year. With an increase in anxiety and depression, we need to concentrate on alleviating that stress now more than ever.
Our mood can directly affect our body image. When you’re feeling down, it’s hard to ignore the negative voice in your head. “I should’ve eaten less pie,” you might be telling yourself as you look in the mirror. Meditation is a great way to combat those feelings of low self esteem and help improve your everyday attitude.
The goal is to clear your mind and bring your focus inward. You’ll need to find a place of comfort and then begin to pay attention to your breathing.
If you’re anything like me, your mind will begin to wander aimlessly. How can it not when we have so much going on? Once your mind begins to drift, take a moment to pause and center yourself. You’ll then go back to inhaling and exhaling, paying attention to any sensations you may have.
If you again become distracted, don’t stress. It’s completely natural to have a busy mind.
With practice you’ll find it easier to concentrate and will begin to start seeing the benefits of meditation.
The list is an extensive one, and each person might find they improve in their own unique way. You may begin to have a deeper self awareness with an increase of imagination and creativity. You’re also able to gain new perspectives on stressful situations and have an increase of patience. Anxiety can be reduced and your quality of life can soar. All it takes is 5-10 minutes out of your day!
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When we talk about health, physical health tends to be our first thought. Now that we’re approaching winter, it’s important that we maintain the same motivation that we had in the summer.
As the weather fluctuates so does our health. The lack of sunlight also brings about feelings of drowsiness, which can discourage us from wanting to stay active. A great way to do that without leaving the warmth of your home is yoga or pilates.
Yoga is excellent not just for your physical health, but your overall well being. It focuses on bringing harmony between your mind and body. You’ll get a great workout to help tone muscles and burn calories, and you will be able to practice deep breathing and meditation.
This is a fantastic way to not only promote relaxation, but it also will help increase endorphins which can alleviate your mood.
Pilates is my favorite way to stay active. While I love a relaxing yoga class, pilates seems to keep me a little more upbeat.
One of the differences in pilates and yoga is that it can be a little more fast paced. Pilates is used to target your core muscles, but benefits other areas of your body as well.
As I’ve continued on my pilates journey, I’ve noticed total body improvement along with mental clarity and have never felt better.
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Finally, we need to remember to be mindful of our emotional health. Our minds and bodies have a strong connection. When our emotional health is poor, it’s hard to find the motivation to keep our physical health in check.
Research continues to show that our emotions play an equal, if not greater, role in determining the status of our health.
A great way to help our emotional health thrive is by maintaining social connections.
Maintain Social Connections
Lately I’ve come to realise just how important social connections are. Knowing only one person in a 1,000 km radius has taught me that having a strong support system has many benefits for emotional health.
Whilst being in a global pandemic, it’s hard to be able to physically meet up with those in our social circle. However, having a social connection isn’t limited to physical presence. Embracing our relationships with others boosts positivity, confidence, and self worth. When identifying the supportive people in your life consider the following:
- How do they make you feel?
- Do they help you grow or do they hold you back?
- Are they honest with you even when it may be hard?
- Do they hold you accountable with your goals?
It’s hard to fight for energy when it’s cold and dark out.
Resisting that sluggish feeling is significant in remaining positive so that we may feel at peace with ourselves.
In order to keep feeling motivated, it’s essential that we establish a routine. Practice makes perfect and the more we keep at it the easier it will be to stay active.
With the new year around the corner, let’s get a jump start on our resolutions. When it comes to our health, there isn’t a better time to start than today!
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