It’s officially winter, but if you live in Canada then you’ve likely felt like that’s been the case for a while now. For some, winter can be tough on our mental health, especially if you struggle with seasonal affective disorder. For others, it might mean less physical activity if you dislike the cold or prefer to be active outside when it’s warmer out. If this is you, the long winters in Canada mean that you could be spending a lot or too much - time inside.
In a previous post, we offered up some great tips on winter activities you can try . In this post, we’ll cover the benefits of getting outside during the winter months despite the cold and snow. Now, let’s talk about some new ways to embrace wintertime instead of counting the days till spring!
Getting out in Winter is…. Good for You?
Yes! Believe it or not, getting outside in winter is actually good for you. So, before we get into ways to embrace the cold, let’s cover why it actually matters.
We cover a few of these reasons in our blog on SAD, but here’s a quick summary:
- Sunlight - get that natural Vitamin D! As a bonus, this natural light helps regulate your circadian rhythm if you struggle with sleep.
- Physical activity - get an endorphin boost and lift your mood by taking your workout outside.
- Expanding your options - we can only do so much inside, and winter can be long. Break out of your rut and get outside in the winter to try something new and shake up your routine.
- Keep it safe - with cold and flu season it might seem like so many people you know are sick right now. Indoor activities around this time of year likely means being around people and that makes the transmission of viruses more likely. Finding an outside social activity is a great way to avoid spreading germs.
How to Embrace Winter
Getting outside in the winter months might sound easier to some and harder for others. If you grimace at the thought of being outside in sub-zero temperatures, there are a few things you can try to break that habit and embrace the cold.
- Plan a social activity outside - grab a buddy! Plan a walk or outdoor activity and invite some pals. Use the social opportunity to embrace the outside setting. Bonus points if you make it even more fun by bringing hot chocolate.
- Dress appropriately - your time outside isn’t going to be fun or enjoyable if you’re not dressed for the occasion. Layer up and grab your winter accessories to stay warm during your time outside. And dress based on your activity. If you’re headed out to sit by a fire, your choices will look different than if you’re going for a long cross-country ski. Pick items that will keep you warm while also keeping you dry. And if you’re going to be on an icy surface, wear cleats or grippy footwear.
- Pick a new activity - are you looking to get outside more and pick up a new game or sport? Winter offers you lots of options here. Maybe you’ve been looking for the right time to try downhill skiing and want to start with some lessons. Maybe you and a friend want to give snowshoeing a try. Or maybe, you realize you’ve never actually built the perfect snowman. Find an activity that appeals to you that will help get you outside. Whether it’s a ski or an easy afternoon spent building a snow fort in your backyard, there’s an outdoor activity for you.
- Discover a new place - we’re lucky in Canada to have an amazing natural playground, especially for winter months. Use this time of year to discover a new national or provincial park in your area. Maybe you’ll be inspired to return in the summer and try out a different activity.
- Make a plan - plan your outdoor activity and then when the day arrives, follow through. It might feel extra chilly that day but be sure to show up and stick with it. You’ll thank yourself later!
- Be inspired by the Scandinavians - improve your indoor environment to give yourself a welcoming environment to come home to and warm up in. People who live in northern climates embrace hygge to keep their spaces warm and comfy. Think soft lighting, candles, using indoor holiday lights, or creating a cozy reading nook.
- Adjust your perspective - while it might sound overly simplistic, consider adjusting your mindset when you’re thinking about embracing winter. It might be your least favorite season currently, but winter always comes around so it’s beneficial to look for the positives and ways you can enjoy the season, rather than wish the days away. Challenge yourself to break out of your comfort zone and become a winter person!
New to Canada?
You might be newly arrived in Canada, in which case welcome to our Canadian winters! Our scenery might be beautiful but there are some cold-weather dangers to watch out for like frostbite and hypothermia. Be sure to dress warmly if you’re headed out and know the signs of frostbite. Our blog last year expands on this too. The early sign to watch out for will be shiny and rosy-red skin.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or new to our frigid winters, we would all benefit from enjoying time outside during the winter and reap the benefits of that sunshine and activity. Consider adding getting outside more to your 2023 resolutions and start the new year off on a snowy, refreshing note.