May 2, 2022 - 3 min read
While grey skies and chilly temperatures might be forcing you indoors at this time of year, it can also be a great time to reset your fitness goals and turn the focus on you. Here’s how to use the winter months to optimise your overall health and wellbeing (in a fun way), while still treating yourself to a hot chocolate or two. Life is meant to be enjoyed, after all.
Exercising and staying active is the key to a healthy life, regardless of the season. Any daily exercise has the same impact – it releases endorphins. “Endorphins help us feel happier, sleep better and clear the mental funk we can get into,” says mindfulness and mindset coach and psychotherapist Jon Unal. “The highest performers on the planet work out at least 3–4 times per week. So if you’re not doing this, you’re doing a disservice to yourself, as well as to your mental health and wellbeing.”
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Winter is all about comfort food. But it doesn’t have to be high in calories (although indulging every now and then will help keep the cravings at bay). Slow-cooked soups, stews and curries are all hearty but healthy dishes you can cook at home.
“Chicken and vegetable soups are always great for winter, and stews using less fatty meats, such as chuck steak and chicken breast, are great,” says nutrition coach Nancy Cicerone of @nutrionionalnancy. “Adding hidden veggies to bolognese and smoothies is a great way to pack more into your diet. I do carrot, mushrooms and zucchini in my sauce, and spinach, chia and flaxseeds for smoothies.”
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From nailing 10,000 steps a day to moving enough to burn 200 calories, setting small daily goals can help you stay on track and lift your mood.
“It can be as simple as a morning routine,” Jon Unal says. “Every morning I do three things: I start with gratitude, then I do some physical activity – I stretch to open up my body – drink at least half a litre of water, and practise 20 minute of mindfulness.
“If you’re busy in the morning, my tip is to become more intentional and focus on how you’re showing up in each moment. Having a meaningful conversation with your kids or partner can be very helpful because we all need connection, and connection doesn’t happen when your mind is off somewhere else.”
The Apple Watch Series 7 will support your daily goals, tracking your walking and/or running pace, daily steps and kilojoules burnt, and it will even remind you to get moving when you’ve been sitting too long.
Mindfulness has swept the world as the benefits of staying present and paying attention to your emotions and thoughts have been found to have a positive impact on mental health.
What’s mindfulness? It’s as simple as doing a 5–10 minute meditation in the morning, before bed or whenever works best for you, journalling and practising gratitude (writing down 3–5 things you’re grateful for).
“Mindfulness is the gym for your mind. It helps you to stay in the present moment where you can take charge of your life and decide how you want to live,” says Jon Unal.
“Your mind is a tool you can use to get what you want in life. But for a lot of people, including myself at times, the mind becomes the master and it runs our lives. Mindfulness allows us to take control.”
Jon recommends the meditation apps Insight Timer, Headspace and Smiling Mind – all of which feature guided meditations for beginners to experts. Load them on to the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite 8.7” tablet, which also lets you journal your thoughts and feelings.
If you’ve watched the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy you’ll know how ‘dancing it out’ can improve your mood. Let loose with a boogie or even sing your favourite tunes when you’re stuck inside on rainy days. The Bose SoundLink Micro Bluetooth Speaker is portable so you’ll have awesome sound quality wherever you are. Plus, it’s waterproof.