We all do it. During the dark and frosty months of winter, we hibernate, hunker down under blankets that threaten to never loosen up, sip on our hot mocha lattes and fall prey to every delectable comfort food we can get our hands on.
It’s actually quite lovely when done in moderation. It’s when that layer of comfort that we bury ourselves so deeply in becomes a continuous trend that we start to let some pretty important things slip. Like exercise. And vegetables. And the need to interact with other humans and not just Netflix.
Falling into the winter slump is as easy as stalking your ex on Facebook. Fight back the funk with these ten ways to keep a little spring in your step and stay fit.
1. Get Outside
Like, right now. Get up, put on something warm and step outside. Take a walk, hop up and down or stand out there on a work break deeply inhaling the crisp air while soaking in the sun and sights of nature. This method single-handedly snaps me out of any energy-sucking, spirit-killing downward spiral of a day, year-round. Visit Blackstone Boulevard in Providence for a fantastic walking path, no matter the season.
2. Channel Your Inner Child
Have you always wanted to play the sports that you’re busy bringing your children to multiple times a week? Do you wonder what it’s like to play wiffle ball with someone you could actually go have a beer with later? Are you looking for a reason to kick something other than your boss or co-worker? Seek no more. Wide World of Indoor Sports (621 Pound Hill Road #200, North Smithfield. 401-767-1234, wideworldofindoorsports.com) offers lots of adult leagues, ranging from flag football and softball to soccer and volleyball.
3. Make A Date
It could be with your spouse, best friend or Yoda and 16 stormtroopers, but making a weekly date to get active together will get you off the couch and into some sweat-time. When you are held accountable for your actions, it’s harder to sneak away from them.
4. Play With Food
Well, not literally. Balance the weekend pies with a Saturday morning visit to the Wintertime Farmer’s Market (1005 Main Street, Pawtucket. 401-312-4250, farmfreshri.org) and browse the endless bunches of fresh winter fruits and veggies, choosing ones you’ve never cooked with before.
5. Find The Light
If there is one thing we lack during the winter months, it’s light. Finding it, absorbing it and even just existing in it after 5pm is like searching for your daughter’s missing Lego guy in Disney World. On the days when outer light is lacking, let your inner light shine. Balance your chakras with a great yoga class, or meditate into mindfulness at the Providence Zen Center (99 Pound Road, Cumberland. 401-658-1464, providencezen.org).
6. Drink Up
No, not whiskey – although there is certainly a time and place for that. A lot of our everyday sluggishness is directly related to how hydrated we are, especially in winter when we aren’t naturally as thirsty. Don’t skimp on your ounces. Keep a water bottle by your side and flavor up with fresh fruit to make it more inviting. Sip on hot or iced tea with lemon or honey, or add a lime to some plain sparkling water.
C.S. Lewis once said, “We read to know we are not alone.” He was clearly in a February funk when he penned such wise words. Whether it’s books on self-awareness, nutrition and wellbeing or the latest drool-worthy cookbook, positive life-transforming habits can be created by the simple words on a page.
8. Get Outdoorsy
There’s no reason to avoid the cold and snow if you properly gear yourself up for the great outdoors. Ice skate downtown at the The Providence Rink (2 Kennedy Plaza. 401-331-5544, alexandanicitycenter.com), hike the many gorgeous trails the state has to offer (find out more at exploreri.org), snowshoe your way to the park, learn how to ski or snowboard at Yawgoo Valley (160 Yawgoo Valley Road, Exeter. 401-294-3802, yawgoo.com) or invite your friends to a good ol’ fashioned snowball fight. While the temps may be dropping, your heart rate will be doing exactly the opposite.
9. Use Your Senses
At one time, aromatherapy was for hippies and stoners. Now, diffuse some Balance, drink some Lemon and inhale some Breathe and you’re on your way to never needing coffee again. Essential oils are trending mood-boosting and health-improving natural wellness products (that work). Ask around and chances are, at least one of your friends can fill you in.
10. Set A Goal
The winter is a fantastic time to do some fitness and self-improvement goal-setting because we’re not too busy bathing in the sun while drinking blue elixirs out of fishbowls. Sign up for a race you’ve always wanted to try. Plan a big hike for the spring. Venture into obstacle course and functional fitness events. Whatever the goal, having something to train for is an instant way to keep you from choosing Netflix over workouts.