I love using the slower pace of winter to consider new habits and routines that’ll help increase my energy, enhance my mood and improve my overall health, wellness and productivity.

Colder, darker days, along with the promise of the upcoming new year, always inspire me to reflect on how I can start fresh, up my game and set new goals and intentions.

If you’re looking for a little motivation to do the same, here are 8 great habits to start this winter:

1// SLEEP MORE.

Since the nights get dark earlier, winter is a great time to try to get more sleep. Going to bed an hour (or two) earlier can be easier with the extra hours of darkness. The goal is to clock seven to nine hours of sleep each night, so that you feel more energetic throughout the day.

2// COOK MORE.

Freezing temps are an excellent reason to hibernate. And a great way to use that extra time indoors is cooking healthy, hearty meals at home. Try preparing a variety of fresh, seasonal, immune-supportive foods like sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, parsnips, beets and squash. Soups, stews and casseroles are cozy, comforting, easy-to-make options. Not only will you stay warm, but you’ll also save money and eat better!

3// MOVE MORE AT HOME

Venturing out to the gym can feel like a bigger challenge during the colder months. So why not take this opportunity to create a mini at-home fitness space. All you need is a yoga mat, some dumbbells, and access to the Internet to stream free do-anywhere workouts. Some of my favorite forms of at-home movement included yoga, Pilates, barre, core classes and body weight strength classes.

4// DRINK MORE WATER

Dehydration doesn’t only happen in the warm summer months, it’s actually more of a threat in the winter thanks to sneaky dry air and high-temperatures from heaters. Not to mention all the extra layers that keep us bundled up outside, can make it harder for us to realize how much sweat we’re actually losing. Try carrying a water bottle with you everywhere you go and drinking 80-100 ounces daily.

5// BE MORE MINDFUL

Winter is wonderful time to create a mindfulness practice. Whether it’s meditation, breathing exercises or simply being more present in the moment, spending even just a few minutes to slow down and to really notice what’s happening within and around you can change your life. Simply stop what you’re doing, notice how your body feels (without judging anything), follow your breath, close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you. Take in your full experience and let go of anything that isn’t right now.

6// ENJOY MORE “YOU” TIME

The cold days and dark nights of winter practically beg us to up the fun factor! No matter what it is that you enjoy doing, a great habit to start during the winter is creating space in your calendar just for YOU! Carve out some leisure time, schedule a date with yourself and spend it doing things that make you feel happy, joyful and fulfilled.

7// ORGANIZE MORE

Winter = hunkering down at home, which makes it the ideal time to spruce up your space. Start by decluttering one room at a time, getting rid of stuff that you no longer love or use. Organize your closets and drawers so that everything is accessible and easy to find. Then do a deep clean, and maybe add something beautiful like fresh flowers or a cool piece of art. Your home is your sanctuary, so make it an environment that feels great to be in!

8// EAT MORE VITAMIN D-RICH FOODS.

We mostly glean this “sunshine nutrient” from sun exposure; and because there’s less sunlight during the winter months (and we spend more time indoors) many adults become deficient. Vitamin D deficiency can contribute to fatigue, lack of energy, and feelings of sadness. Incorporate vitamin-D rich foods, like wild-caught salmon or tuna, almond or coconut milk, shitake and morel mushrooms, eggs and cod liver oil to reverse or avoid a deficiency. You can also ask your doctor to run a blood panel, and if you’re running low on vitamin D, consider supplementing with 1,000 to 2,000 IU per day (or per your doctor’s recommendation).

However you spend your winter this year, I hope that you do MORE of what makes you feel amazing!

Sending you love and good wishes,

xo

Vicki