Okay, so this happens every year, winter comes, we complain, it goes away, and we are happy again. This year though, the seemingly never-ending deep freeze and snow squalls has just been draining.
Even today, as we enter the month of March, I stepped outside only to find yet another blanket of snow on the streets – and it’s still coming down pretty hard.
I have an appreciate for snow, I do, after all we live in Canada, but to a point! I love the holiday season around November/December, and the snow just gives me all kinds of feels. But when you are stretching it into March, it’s like, okay it’s been a slice, but now please go away.
I think many of us (myself included) are ‘solar-powered’ and really depend on those longer days and extended periods of sunlight to feel uplifted.
But hey, at least it is March, which means that warmer is on its way – hopefully sooner than later. But the reality is that we do have to go through those long, grey, dreary months in order to enjoy the summer sizzle, – so how do we keep ourselves motivated, happy and on track when Mother Nature is just beating us down?
It Starts From Within
I’ve written a few prior posts on how to beat the winter blues – this one from last year touched on how we were experiencing ‘Sprinter’ well into April! Yet how we deal with it does change over time. What may have worked before, may not work now, so you’ve got to sometimes go back to the beginning and figure out what brings you that inner peace to keep you motivated now.
Exercise – Going Back to the Basics
I continue to, and always will, stand by the importance of remaining active, but I’ll admit, it’s been tough this year. Those days where the temperature has dipped to almost -35 at times, just makes you want to crawl underneath 10 blankets and only re-emerge when summer arrives! It becomes really hard to muster up the drive to throw on some gym clothes and get those fluids pumping.
I also noticed that when I would have the drive to go to the gym, to the point where I would have gotten into my gym gear and made it to the gym (which is inside a mall), I would get side-tracked and then decide to run a bunch of other errands instead, effectively losing that drive to actually go to the gym in the end.
Instead, I would just want to go home and rip open a bag of chips, or just cozy up on the couch with a cup of hot tea – and just do nothing. It’s like I found the idea of going to the gym enticing, but actually following through with it, was something else. It felt hard. I know the weather was and is a contributing factor to this attitude, because normally I would never make excuses, and going to the gym would be the first thing I would do, before running other errands.
So what I realized after experiencing this a few times, was that in order to get my enthusiasm back, I needed to go back to square one.
Start with yourself
If you aren’t happy with yourself, you can’t be happy around others.
I thrive off being around other gym-goers, but that inner motivation has to initially come from within, so I felt the need to go back to exercising in solitude. It meant working out in a place where I wouldn’t have to really interact with anyone and I could just really focus on myself and getting my inner zest back.
Thankfully, I have a small, quiet gym where I live so that is where I started. It only has the bare minimum in terms of equipment, (ie: a treadmill, cycle, some weights) so anyone that goes there is not there to socialize, but to focus on getting a decent workout with whatever is available. So it was the perfect starting point in getting my mojo back. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ve felt an improvement.
Another thing I’ve pondered is going for a winter jog. I feel like there would be something exhilarating about running against that cold, crisp air – it would almost feel like a mini victory against winter. If (and when) I do it, I’ll be sure to share my experience. 🙂
I also think that in general, you need a balance of ‘alone’ time at the gym and group fitness. While it’s great to exercise in the company of other positive, like-minded people, it is also equally important to go to the gym for yourself and to do your own thing. It’s about finding that happy medium.
This can never be said enough. The power of positive thinking can do wonders for uplifting your spirits during the winter funk – and in life in general. Look ahead, plan something fun and exciting to look forward to in the warmer months. The less you dwell and focus on the winter blahs, the less it will impact your overall well-being.
On that note, two things to look forward to: 1) Next Sunday is daylight savings time – sure, we lose an hour of sleep but that means longer days and more sunshine ahead! And 2) We officially welcome Spring on March 20 – here’s hoping the weather will start reflecting that. 🙂
Better days are ahead. Keep moving. Keep believing.