Transitioning Into Winter Health Habits

Andrea Banerjee

Here in Toronto, colder temperatures have arrived over the last few weeks, as we head into another Canadian winter (shiver)! While I’m excited about these first snowfalls and the holiday season, my overall health tends to take a nose-dive at this time of year. 

Like many, I struggle pretty hard  with winter weather. My shoulders and neck suffer from huddling against the cold, my asthma is worse, I experience symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, and the cold, dry, static air drives me nuts! This year I’m determined to get ahead of things with strategies and hacks to keep me moving and mentally healthy. Here’s what’s been working for me so far:

Keep Essential Oils at Work
I was gifted a set of essential oils and find them to be one of the most amazing and soothing items to keep on hand, especially in the winter time. I have a few favourites that I’ve begun taking to work with me and leaving underneath my monitor, along with a hand lotion and lip balm. I dab a drop or two on my wrists or rub them into my skin a couple of times throughout the day. It’s instantly soothing, and reminds me to take some deep breaths (and stop hunching!) If you have a diffuser at work, even better! Rich scents like a clove, pine, sandalwood or peppermint are delicious, invigorating, and will get you in the holiday spirit πŸ˜‰ 

Heat Up Your Workout Clothes
I’ve probably confessed to this one before: I stick my workout clothes in the dryer for 60 seconds before changing into them. It’s still one of the only ways I can motivate myself to swap my thick cozy sweaters and pants for spandex. I make sure that I have clean workout clothes on hand and toss them in the dryer just to “take the edge off.” πŸ˜› Instead of feeling like a chilly chore, it’s like wrapping myself in a luxuriously heated towel. I also layer up for my workouts because I run so hot and cold

Embrace Curries and Chilli 
One great thing about winter: the veggies! Enjoy some fiber- rich, savoury, hot meals by making soups, chillis and curries all winter long. Heap on lots of comforting slow-cooked vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, squash and onions and pump up the spice profile! Turmeric, pepper, masala, curry, cumin and cayenne always help me fight off the winter blues. I’m excited to make this chilli and this curry soon!

Set an iPhone Timer for Stretching & Hydration
I know it sounds like a little much, but setting daily interval reminders can be game-changing. I’ve started to do it at work so that I get a pop-up (like a meeting reminder), telling me to take an ergonomic break, stretch and refill my water glass. I’m much more successful at maintaining these habits with a reminder.  

Make-Up Off, Moisturizer On
When I get home from work, I’ve been taking a make-up remover to my face and using a light moisturizer, which I reapply again before bed, and again in the morning. It’s helped me avoid the severe flaking skin that I normally get below my eyes, on my eyelids and around my mouth.

Try Weeknight Mini Meditation
Especially for those working a 9 to 5 indoors, we all know that mindfulness can be a challenge in the winter. A lot of the day is spent in darkness or artificial light, and if you’re like me, many of your thoughts are consumed with staying warm, staying awake, and getting from point A to point B. I know that the sunless evenings seem to fly by, but even just sparing 10 minutes for a simple guided meditation helped me last winter. If nothing else, it’s important to take time to breathe deeply, relax your shoulders and focus on being present – things that I always seem to do when I step out into the summer heat. I don’t have that same “ahhhh” moment in the winter, so it’s helpful to make it a conscious practice. I used Headspace last year and thought that it lived up to the hype – it was accessible, beginner-friendly and offered at a “freemium” pricing model. 

How do you adjust your health habits and behaviours in the winter? 


12 Comments Add yours

  1. lindasschaub says:

    I hear you – here in Southeast Michigan we had a horrible Fall and no Indian Summer. We are feeling cheated and had snow three times already (minimal, but still it is snow), freezing fog this morning, more snow tonight … I have 41 more miles to meet my year-end goal of walking 1,051 miles so hopefully the weather improves soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s such an amazing goal- good for you!!! You can do it!! We’ll pull through the dark days of winter together πŸ™‚ At least the snow is pretty right? Thanks for stopping by the blog! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lindasschaub says:

        Now I’m down to 13 miles and definitely doable and of course now I want to aim for getting the goal done in the month of November instead of year end … some people are never happy. πŸ™‚


  2. I moved to Texas because I hate the cold. Good tips, but glad I don’t need them. He’s been that he’s been there forever🌞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I laughed at this! Good for you and enjoy every minute of warmth!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. davidyochim says:

    16 degrees this morning where I live. Ugh…..


  4. Gilly Vegan says:

    Here in the UK we are preparing for β€˜the big freeze’ according to the forecasts…. we never seem to cope very well here and are usually unprepared…I often think of you in Canada who get heavy snow every year and just get on with it! Great tips from someone who knows how to stay warm & well…thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so funny, I visited London and Ireland for the first time in the spring in 2016 (May) and I was chilled to my very bones!! But everyone there seemed so comfortable with the overcast, windy days, ha! Good luck with the big freeze from across the pond! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Gilly Vegan says:

        I think grey skies instantly make you feel colder! Sadly we still don’t have any crisp white snow which actually makes me feel quite cosy & warm…best wishes from a typically cold & wet UK πŸ’•


  5. Loretta says:

    Great tips, something we could all be reminded of frequently. Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading! Wishing you a nice healthy winter πŸ™‚


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