Winter Wellness

Commit to Leading a Healthier Lifestyle Starting This Month.

Article by Russ Riendeau

Photography by Stephen Neilson

Originally published in SW Lake Lifestyle

What three things would you like to start, stop or continue that will improve your wellness every day?

Which aspects of your daily habits and living environment are you most grateful for?

Winter is often experienced as a season of introspection: a time for renewal and reflection; a time for exploring our options and decisions in life. Our thoughts focus on the new year as the days get shorter and the air grows cold and clear. In our Covid world, it can mean challenges, including possibly being isolated again from friends and family. We need to dig deeper into our personal resilience to stay positive and healthy.

Here enters the perfect opportunity to formulate your own wellness vision.

As a Mayo Clinic trained Wellness Coach and Doctor of Psychology, I’m fortunate to have access to some of the best medical, psychological and health/wellness research in America through the Mayo Clinic. And also as a fellow business owner, I appreciate the many challenges to dedicating time, energy and commitment to our own wellness, as pandemic-generated and other daily surprises continually pop up. Here are some simple, pragmatic tips (and fun experiments) for helping you reset and restore your overall wellness for this upcoming winter season.

All of these ideas have scientific evidence behind their effectiveness. Although they’re simple, be prepared: even simple changes require effort. Watch what happens when you commit to a few of these ideas even for 10 days! You’ll feel better, and these positive emotions will carry you to the next 10 days, and on to the next.

Here’s the list (items in no particular order)... worth putting on the fridge or the coffee table for the next 30 days to jumpstart your momentum.

  • Write down 4 things you’re grateful for in the past week.
  • Drink 2 more glasses of cool water every day. This will reduce hunger and inflammation, and help overall digestion and concentration.
  • List 5 things you can do instead of heading to the fridge for a snack. Keep busy to keep from overeating.
  • Buy yourself a new pillow and give yourself a good night’s sleep. Your brain and body heal your cells as you sleep.
  • Head out into nature every day, even if just for 10 minutes. Stress is proven to drop when in nature.
  • Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum to help reduce weight and hunger pangs, as well as to avoid dehydration.
  • Start that book you’ve been wanting to read or listen to.
  • If you want to lose a few pounds, do nothing else except eat 400 less calories a day and burn 200 calories a day. Walking for 40 minutes can burn 300. Do this for one week and see what happens.
  • Change your furnace filter tomorrow and breathe some fresher air.
  • This weekend, start planning your next vacation. Where do you want to go?
  • Call that friend you have been putting off calling.
  • Jump into (and come out of) the closet with 10 pieces of clothing you don’t/won’t wear, and donate or toss them. (Yes, that shirt must go!).
  • Start a countdown list of healthy achievements, and work toward them... for example: 10 pounds lost, 9 walks this week, 8 pushups, 7 flights of stairs, etc. Remember: Exercise is anything with movement. You can move more!
  • Limit watching the news to 1 hour a day... and fill that spare time by visiting your local library (my favorite: the great Barrington Area Library!).

Creating your own winter wellness vision and dedicating time to self-care is the best gift you can give yourself and your family: to remain fit, strong, and alert in our challenging world.

Russ Riendeau, PhD, is one of only 1000 Mayo Clinic trained Wellness Coaches in the world. He works with business professionals to help them define and achieve a healthier state of wellness in our stressful world. He is also an executive search professional, author and TEDx Talks presenter. Contact Russ at 847.363.9789 or russriendeau@gmail.com. All conversations remain confidential.

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