Yep, it’s official. It’s February. We are smack dab in the worst part of winter. Our days are getting slightly longer by the second, but that doesn’t stop the snow from piling, the rain from freezing, and the bellies from being bottomless. At least in my house. It’s like an unspoken rule that if it’s grey and snowy out, something must be piping away in my slow cooker filling my house with the sweet, or salty, aroma of something comforting. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut this time of year, unless of course you’re living somewhere sunny and warm and in that case, what’s your address? I’ll pack up some old, dirty, slushy snow and send it your way so you don’t feel excluded.
It’s not just February. It’s also National Heart Month and another reminder of how important it is to take care of our minds and bodies. If you’re anything like me and you spend most of your days indoors behind a computer you can empathize with how difficult it can be to not only get moving but also how to keep ourselves out of the cold weather funk.
Here’s how I feed my heart (and you know, the rest of my organs) through even the most brutally cold winter days.
The other day I begrudgingly put on my long coat, ear warmers, and gloves to take my dog out, and to my pleasant surprise, I also needed to dust off my sunglasses. Initially I hoped he’d do his business and immediately want to come back to our Netflix binge, but after a few attempts to call him inside I realized, it felt really good outside. So I made myself stay outside with him as he dug through the snow mounds and sniffed every square inch of the yard. He was happy and exhausted and I was refreshed. I went inside with a new sense of motivation and shut off the Netflix.
Get Up. Seriously.
No, I’m not talking about my love affair with my snooze button. I’m talking about my mid-day mandatory walk. Lucky enough for me, I work in a pretty large complex where it’s easy to squeeze in a two-mile walk right before I eat my lunch. When it’s warmer outside, I prefer to do this outdoors. But, when the weather prevents me from leaving the building, I opt for an indoor stroll. Keeping a pair of old sneakers at your desk gives you absolutely no excuse not to fit in a little movement. Coming back to work, I feel reenergized and it also prevents me from scarfing down my lunch resulting in an energy crash. Don’t have a lot of ground you can cover? Jump in the stairwell and get your blood pumping by walking the full set a few times. This can be done in as little as 10 minutes, but helps aid in focus, stress management, and binging for the rest of the day. It’s also critical, at least for me, that I get up from my work, clear my head, and come back revitalized.
It’s easy to get caught up in everyday routines as the New Year’s mentality slowly starts to lose it’s shimmer and all of those resolutions, check lists, and promises may begin to get compromised as life gets back to post-holiday normal. Make sure your normal includes something solely for your own feel good purpose. Found a new recipe that nobody in the house is going to enjoy? Freeze it in personal serving sizes for a quick meal when you find yourself alone while your special someone is out in the field for longer than expected. Been ignoring your tootsies since we traded in flip flops for boots? Give yourself a pedicure. Can’t stop thinking about Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups (or is that just me?), make a special trip. Eat them in, or on the way to, the car. Have no shame. It may be Valentine’s Day soon, but don’t forget the sometimes forgotten Valentine — you.
How will you feed your heart this month?