America's Energy Doctor
OK, so I live in Florida, where we don’t exactly have to contend with frigid temperatures and blizzards quite as often as some other folks. But it does get cold here in the winter, even dipping into the 30s sometimes. And I know many of you readers are scattered all around the country, where winter can take a serious toll on your energy levels and motivation to get outside, get moving, or even just get out from under the blankets.
One of the most important parts of staying energized in hot weather is making sure you stay well hydrated and replenishing lost electrolytes. Of course, you may perspire a lot more in the heat, but it’s actually crucial in cold weather too—especially when you’re working up a sweat.
But winter’s cold weather brings other challenges to our energy levels. Below are some fundamental ways to feel more energized in the winter that address many of the biggest seasonal concerns. Take them to heart, and you should be ready to go forth and conquer each day!
15 Steps to Staying Energized in Cold Weather
- Turn on bright lights early in the morning and when it’s getting dark early; this helps combat seasonal affective disorder or generalized low mood and energy resulting from reduced daylight
- Get some sun on your skin, even though the weather outside is frightful, as it’s a great mood booster and important to vitamin D production; ask your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement if you’re not getting at least 15 minutes of sun exposure most days
- Drink at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water every day, and more when you exercise
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and lean proteins for lots of immune-boosting nutrients; getting sick in winter is common and a major drain on your energy!
- Wash your hands frequently to avoid contracting those cold and flu viruses lurking all over the place (and moisturize daily to prevent your hands from drying out due to all that washing)
- Don’t succumb to the dread of the cold and stop exercising, because inactivity breeds lower and lower energy levels; just work out inside if that’s the only way you can stand it
- Dress in layers when exercising outdoors in the cold; you don’t want to under-dress, but it’s good to be able to remove some layers as you heat up
- Keep the indoor temperature moderate; if you’re shivering all day, that’s no good, but artificial heat and hot rooms can make you feel tired
- Have small, healthy snacks in between meals to maintain a steady supply of energy, especially when your body’s working a little harder to stay warm
- Fight the urge to indulge often in heavy meals of comfort foods, as these big loads—especially when they’re high in fat or starches—can leave you feeling sluggish
- Also keep your sugar intake low and stay away from other bad carbs like refined grains, as these all lead you to crashes in your blood glucose levels, and with it your energy level
- Have a cup or two of coffee or tea in the morning and early afternoon; a hot beverage feels great in cold weather, and there’s nothing wrong with a caffeine boost in moderation
- Take a short (20- to 30-minute) power nap in the middle of the day, as it’s quite refreshing
- Take a hot bath at night; it’s one of the best ways to de-stress, relax, and rejuvenate at the end of the day, and it helps shake off that chill
- Do some “spring cleaning” in winter at home and the office; messes and clutter are demotivating and even depressing, so clear them out, particularly since you’re spending more time inside