Dammit! The clocks have gone back here in the UK and I was really enjoying making use of the daylight hours by going for walks and feeling energised after getting back in from the long commute in the evenings.
Alas, the test begins to keep that energy going throughout the next few months. But as SAD and the shorter days will no doubt be having an effect on my sanity, I am going to try a few things out that may help to have a little more energy over the winter months and you can try them too!
1 – STAY ACTIVE
Those of you who follow me know that I’m quite an active person and I try and do some physical activity 3 times per week. At my lowest activity level, I do at least one walk at the weekend (minimum 3 miles). Even that doesn’t feel like it’s enough sometimes.
I used to run an awful lot but since around April this year (2017), I’ve picked up a shin splint injury which put an end to my running capabilities. This has challenged me to find new ways to stay active as I know I turn in to a right snappy git if I don’t exercise.
When I first started using these apps, I set an ambitious target of 100 push-ups, sit-ups and squats in a row but when I did my first session… my stats were really laughable and I was truly out of shape!
Max push-ups – 5
Max sit-ups – 18
Max squats – 19
At the end of October, after using the app once every 2-3 days and doing these exercises, I’m currently at:
Max push-ups – 30
Max sit-ups – 35
Max squats – 42
I have to admit, the energy I’m feeling from it is pretty good AND I’m starting to see my body change shape (albeit slowly!) from a skinny bloke to a skinny bloke with a slight bit of toning 😀 Considering my commute is around 2.5 hours and my evenings are limited with the amount of free time, I always make sure I schedule in 30 minutes to do these exercises. So I know you can do it too!
But back to the original point, try to stay active throughout these Winter months. If the gym or push-ups, sit-ups and squats aren’t for you, I highly recommend just going for a walk on your own, with your friends or even a social group online that organises walks so you can do something active at the weekends.
2 – BE WITH FRIENDS/FAMILY/PEOPLE WITH SIMILAR INTERESTS
Case in point – I went for a walk with my old school friends yesterday and the amount of laughs we had was brilliant, like we never left school! We always make an effort to meet up once per month and every time there’s hilarity of some sort.
Even if you feel like you have no-one to socialise with, there’s always options. Apps like Meet-Up or Facebook search for “[hobby group] near me” are great ways to connect with like minded people and get out the house. It’s how I’ve found walking and running groups and they usually meet up weekly. You instantly feel connected so take the plunge and get that feeling of belonging somewhere.
3 – SPEND AS MUCH TIME OUTSIDE AS POSSIBLE!
About 2 weeks ago, commutes (morning and evening) were happening in the dark for me so I started trying to get outside during the day, at least for a couple of minutes, just to make the most of natural light! I work best in hour long bursts (unless I’m in the zone and time slips by without noticing) with a minute or two to have a break, stretch the legs and go outside.
Firstly, it breaks up the day, keeping you as “fresh” as you can be. Secondly, having exposure to natural light is supposed to increase Vitamin D in the body, “which helps maintain healthy bones, muscles and teeth”. So do your best to get out there (just make sure you actually get back to work though)!
4 – HAVE SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO
This can be anything you want really. Book a holiday, arrange regular meet-ups with friends, see family, have a grand night out, long weekend away, the list goes on!
Having that thing to look forward to will keep your spirits up and the time will fly by to the day you have that wonderful event planned. For me, it’s Liquicity next week with some music friends I met through SoundCloud, a few walks dotted throughout the winter months and doing a few Drum & Bass shows too. Yippee!
So I hope that these tips help you out in some way.
What other things do you do during these dark Winter months? Let me know in the comments below!
Stay safe, stay sane!