With the shortest day well behind us, we're now staring down the barrel of spring, which means we can look forward to the warmer months.
While it's still cold outside and tempting to keep cosy inside, it's the perfect opportunity to be proactive about our health so that we can be in top shape both physically and mentally for the sunny days ahead.
Get some fresh air
When you go to work or do the shopping, park your car in the furthest parking space or even down the road. Walking from A to B is an easy way to move your body and get some much-needed fresh air. We all spend more time inside during winter, but fresh air is good for us. It makes us feel brighter and increased oxygen also results in greater brain function, giving us an energy boost and sharpening our focus.
Take a late-winter get-away
Plan a mini-break. Whether it's a girls' weekend, a family trip or even a romantic night away somewhere, it's always good to have something to look forward to. Research has shown that anticipation can be a powerful positive emotion and can help us live happier lives.
Shake up your diet
It's easy to overindulge in the winter months, but prepare yourself for a healthy pre-summer. In order to feel great and avoid illness, it is essential we include nutrient-dense food in our diets. Make use of the seasonal fruits and veges – think colourful vegetables and dark, leafy greens.
Have a warm (healthy) drink
'Tis the season for winter warmers, like hot chocolates and flavoured lattes, but these can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar! Try herbal teas when you're out or warm water with a squeeze of lemon in the mornings at home. Adding a dash of honey will give you the sweet kick you're craving.
Be a social butterfly
It may be tempting to stay tucked up inside, but going out and maintaining friendships is important and will fill us with the positive emotions we need. Good relationships are a high predictor of wellbeing, so no matter what the weather, enjoy time with people who light you up. This goes for when you're at work too. Rather than emailing the person two desks away, get up to have a chat face to face.
Beat the winter blues by trying meditation or yoga to nourish your mind and body. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as your physical health.