Keeping Motivated and Beating the Winter Blues

Keeping Motivated and Beating the Winter Blues

Winter in Michigan is a magical time... for about four weeks. The time between Thanksgiving and New Years is a beautiful winter wonderland for us Michiganders. It's the time where our mitten shaped state really shines!

But then the holiday decorations disappear and the snow turns black. January is a gloomy time (despite of my January birthday). Daylight hours are starting to increase this time of year but in the last month Michigan has seen little to no actual sunshine further pushing us into post-holiday despair.  

I hard to stay motivated when all you really want to do is cuddle into a blanket with some tea and watch Netflix. But you have to pull yourself up by the fluffy socks and remember to stay focused on your goals and keep moving forward.

Here are my tips for keeping motivated and beating the winter blues:

Recognize the Affects of Winter

More than 3 million Americans are diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) each year. SAD often starts in the fall and may continue into the winter months. Symptoms include fatigue, depression, hopelessness, and social withdrawal. Light therapy has been reported to work in 80% of all cases of SAD. Doctors recommend sitting near your light box for 30 minutes each morning. One study conducted during winter found that vitamin D supplements produced improvements in various measures of mood. Pay special attention to yourself! Your mental health and staying motivated go hand in hand.

Exercise

Exercise any time of the day is good but when the mornings are extra cold and getting out of bed is hard, it may help to warm up your body and get a jump start with a quick exercise even if it is something as simple as 15-minute yoga or a few times up and down the stairs. Getting your blood moving in the morning will not only warm you up but it will also wake you up and get you ready for the day ahead. 

Stay on a Schedule

It is hard to get distracted or loose track of time when you are stuck inside. Create a schedule that outlines waking up, meals, and times to accomplish different tasks. Make sure your schedule is planned out in a way that will help you to stay on track to achieving your goals.

Make Your Own Soundtrack

Up beat music will definitely carry you through the day. Create your own playlist and let it shuffle through the day. Add in a dance song every now and then to get you up and moving once you've hit your mid-afternoon slump.

Take Up a New Hobby

A few winters ago Michigan was enduring an uncharacteristically and brutally cold winter. During those months I started experimenting with jewelry making and by the end of the winter I had successfully launch Urban Solstice. By having a hobby it will give you a productive use of your free time that you would have otherwise spent outside when the weather is nicer. It also keeps your brain active and keeps you from vegging out on the couch. 

Get Outside

I know. I know. It's cold. I'm not a fan of it either but being a shut-in isn't good for your mental health. Bundle yourself out and brave the cold for a quick walk around the neighborhood. I prefer a late night walk with my dog once the neighborhood quiets down, especially if it is lightly snowing. Everything looks beautiful and glittery until the next morning's rush hour turns it to muddy sludge. 

Plan a Vacation

Occupy your time by planning a future vacation. It's a nice distraction from gloom of winter weather and it gives you something to look forward to. I recently started planning weekend trips for the summer to see more of Michigan's natural beauties. I'm very excited!

What helps you stay motivated during the cold, dark winter months? Share your tips and tricks in the comments!

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