7 Daily Habits to Sustain Motivation During the Winter

Flatlay of coffee and office tools

As the end of a long, challenging year edges closer, many of us find that our get up and go motive has decided to go for a wander. Nights have developed into long periods of frosty darkness, and our beds have become both a source of comfort and warmth for icy toes doubling the challenge of getting up at 7am. The season has certainly changed but have we adapted our lifestyle to work alongside rather than against it?

Small changes to your daily lifestyle can help during the months where cosying up inside is more appealing than risking a venture outside and a Rudolph-red nose. Here are seven daily habits you can incorporate into your lifestyle to get back on track and get your motivation flowing once more.

  1. Time to wake up in the morning

Mornings have switched to frosty starts of grey, encouraging us to press snooze a hundred times over – not even the smell of coffee is enough to suffice. Winter mornings may indeed be the time where we’d like to devour each second of wrapped up cosiness but this in fact makes waking and getting up a lot harder. The time it takes for us to fully awake after sleep is approximately 2 hours, and so rushing to brush your teeth and pull on a shirt 5 minutes before leaving the house (or joining a zoom call) really isn’t doing your motivation levels any favours!

Make time in the morning for some breakfast, meditation, washing your face, or reading a chapter of a book – whatever you fancy. Not only does this bit of extra time allow for some self-care, it gives you time to wake up before starting your day.

2. Track progress and goals

Nothing motivates us more than a goal in mind, a reason for working x amount of hours a day or for braving the cold to get the heart pumping. Make use of a notepad or an app on your phone to reflect on any progress made in whichever element of your life you choose to focus on as well as setting small goals to aim for. This could be daily, weekly, or fortnightly goals, so long as it works for you and keeps you motivated. When we feel as though progress isn’t being made or our efforts have just been POINTLESS, it’s important that we take time to document and focus on the battles we’ve overcome and the goals we’ve achieved – no matter how big or small.

3. Monitor water consumption

Research has shown that dehydration can make even the most rested person feel tired. Once you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated and so, particularly during the Winter months where blood vessels constrict and blood moves to vital organs to retain heat, meaning the brain is less likely to detect signs of dehydration nor release the hormones that tell us we’re thirsty, you must monitor your water intake throughout the day. The best way to do this is to watch the colour of your urine – it should remain light coloured!

4. Take 5 minutes to focus on your breathing

Feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious often causes our heart rate to beat faster and our inhale/exhale to become more rapid, leaving us feeling panicked and afterwards exhausted. Five minutes of mindful breathing a day can better your sleep, lower stress levels, manage chronic pain, improve attention levels and reduce anxiety.

5. Step outside at least once a day for fresh air

The Winter months mean less Vitamin D intake as, of course in the UK climate it is sensible to stay indoors! But, we can increase these levels by taking a Vitamin D supplement or ensuring we get midday sunlight for 10-30 minutes a day. Getting out for some fresh air is also the perfect excuse to take a walk or focus on your five minutes of breathing!

6. Better sleep hygiene

Quality of sleep has more of an impact on how we carry out daily activities and the motivation we have to carry out those activities. Some people can thrive on little sleep whilst others need longer, but the one thing we all need to feel rested is quality of sleep. The best way to better our chances of waking up feeling rested is to build and develop a night time routine through allowing yourself time to unwind.

7. Make time for escapism

Making time for ourselves by default sits at the end of our list of priorities, if at all. That time to do what we love or what helps us to zone out from stresses isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Without making this time for ourselves we are putting barriers between us and the healthy relationship we need to build with ourselves. In turn, when you make time for escapism or self-love, you’re able to give more and put more energy and time into your goals and aspirations!

These 7 tips are guidance only and not set in stone, you take things at your own pace and focus on your own needs because they are of key importance. Pulling ourselves out of bed every morning can be a big enough of a task let alone ticking off a to-do list. Take your time, be gentle with yourself, always show compassion, take care of yourself and be kind to your mind.

Ciao for now x

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Posted by

Wellbeing writer, host for The Inspired Narrative podcast and mental health support worker.

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