5 min read

8 Tried-and-True Motivational Tools to Make it Through Winter

A smiling woman of color in a long-sleeved top works to stay motivated in winter, stretching her arms in front of her
Fitness Editor
Julia is a qualified fitness trainer. She writes our articles about nutrition and fitness. She also makes free workout plans for our site.

When the days get short and the frosty weather settles in, it can feel nigh impossible to stay motivated in winter. But there are more ways to get through the cold, wet season than hibernating on the couch until spring. Our tools will help you stay on track – with your workouts and everything else you want to get done this winter.

When you open your eyes in the morning and you see it’s still dark outside, are you tempted to turn off your alarm, turn over in bed, and not get up at all? Does it feel like sitting down at the kitchen table with coffee and a newspaper is the most you can muster?

You’re not alone. When it’s gloomy and dreary out, our motivation likes to stay in bed when we drag ourselves out. This isn’t just because people prefer to do our sports and other outdoor activities in bright sunshine, but also because of our altered hormonal balance during the winter.

Once demotivation has got a grip on you, a vicious circle develops in no time. The less you exercise, the more you get used to it and the less you miss the good feeling after the workout. That means it pays to stick with it right from the start.

Finding the cold not only affects your motivation, but also your mood? When the summer’s long gone and the leaves are turning brown, it sometimes means the winter blues are looming. Read up on how you can avoid the autumn and winter blues.

Tips to combat seasonal blues

8 tips to stay motivated in winter months

Fewer hours of sunlight during the winter causes our body’s melatonin production to last longer and start later. Melatonin, a sleep hormone sometimes referred to as the “darkness hormone,” makes you feel tired rather than motivated. Add bad weather to the mix, and you know it’s going to be slow going. With these motivational tips, you’ll outsmart all the excuses of your inner slacker.

A white woman in a cozy sweater and glasses sits on a couch, making meaningful eye contact with her sweet and cuddly big brown dog.
@Manuel Tauber-Romieri

#1 Catch some daylight

Even the shortest winter days have a few hours of daylight. Use them! Especially in times of the home office, there’s no reason to stubbornly sit at the computer from 9 am to 5 pm. Try to plan your break around the brightest time of the day and do what you can to get some sunshine.

If you can exercise outside, take an active lunch break to move your body and relax your mind. Set yourself up to start the second half of your day full of motivation and fresh energy. Check out our workout database for inspiration on equipment-free workouts for every fitness level.

Check out our workouts

If you work in a job where you can’t manage your time freely, try to get as much sun as possible on your days off. A sun lamp can also help to lift your mood.

#2 Work out at home

If just the thought of the gray wet weather depresses you or outdoor winter exercise isn’t an option, there’s no need to miss out. You can get your sweat on at home. Here are our tips for your most effective home workout ever.

#3 Develop routines

When motivation goes out the window, routines are worth their weight in gold. Even when willpower wanes, you’ll find yourself doing them without having to think. Investing in developing healthy habits means you can hit your goals even while your get-up-and-go hibernates.

Read up: Healthy Habits – Your path to a healthier lifestyle

#4 Eat healthy

Fast food makes you lethargic. As if we needed more of that on cold winter days. Covering your vitamin and mineral needs will make sure your immune system is functioning how it should and pep you up with enough energy for your life, exercise, recreation, and work. In winter, the sun vitamin D is often in short supply.

The best way to meet your nutritional needs is to eat a fresh, balanced diet. Make sure you also eat seasonal, regional foods. Not convinced? Read up on the benefits of vitamins.

Talk to a doctor before supplementing your diet. And if you’re low on something, our Daily Vitamins are the perfect alternative for an extra dose of vitamins.

Discover Daily Vitamins
A man of color wearing a jacket and gloves goes for an urban run in the rain
©Justin Case

#5 Reward yourself & take advantage of the season

Even if the wet and cold winter seems to offer more gray than bright days, it also has its advantages: time at the sauna, baths, long days on the couch, and lots more time to spend in the kitchen trying out new recipes. If there’s something you desperately need to be disciplined about, treat yourself to a reward afterwards. The relaxation you get from saunas, massages and bubble baths are forms of self-care, which also supports your fitness and general wellness.

#6 Sign up for a marathon

Or set another specific goal for the spring that forces you to work hard through the winter. The same principles that help you achieve your goals apply in winter as in summer. Motivation comes a lot easier when you have a clear goal in mind. Again, reward yourself for milestones along the way to your goal.

#7 Move with friends

These days, we tend to spend more time alone and at home. Use a date with a friend or family member to make your workout a social event as well. Not only will having a workout buddy make staying motivated easier despite the wind and cold, but it will also make your workout more fun if you’re doing it as a team. If meeting up with a friend in real life isn’t possible, arrange to meet up online. Regular (joint) training with a fitness coach can also be a real motivation booster.

#8 Adapt to the temperatures

Autumn and winter months come every year. This has a clear advantage: you can prepare yourself for temperature drops, snow, rain, and ice. With the right workout clothes and expectations, it all becomes much more bearable – maybe even cheery.

The right running shoes will carry you safely through rain and snow and the right functional sportswear will allow you to feel comfortable even during intense workouts in the cold.

Reading tip: Click here for some advice on running in the rain.

Summary

  • Feeling less motivated in the winter is caused, among other things, by less daylight and early darkness, altered hormone levels, and different dietary and exercise habits.
  • To keep your energy levels up, it’s essential to cover your vitamin and mineral needs. Many of us are vitamin D deficient this time of year.
  • With the right clothing, outdoor workouts are fun even in winter.
  • Find a motivational strategy, like setting a goal, that suits you to keep you going strong.
  • Healthy habits help you through motivation holes. Even if it takes some discipline to develop them in the beginning, the investment is worth it.

More health tips from foodspring:

Article sources
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