I’m walking 60 miles over 3 days to help raise money for breast cancer research and patient support. Can you help me reach my fundraising goal? Click here to learn more.

5: Consider Supplementing Vitamin D

Scientists speculate that one of the reasons we may get more depressed in the winter is lack of vitamin D. Even if you walk outside on every sunny day, it will be tough for your body to create much vitamin D from sunlight with so many layers of clothing on, so consider chatting with your doctor about adding a supplement.

6: Drink Enough Water

I don’t know about you, but I have a much easier time remembering to drink water in the summer than in the winter. Winter air is dry, though, and our bodies need a tremendous amount of fluid to function well.

How much fluid? A great place to start is to take your weight in pounds, divide it in half, and aim for that many ounces. In our family, we’ve been drinking much of this in the form of herbal tea, and we’re loving this electric kettle that quickly makes hot water ready to go.

I love the trick of wrapping a rubber band around my glass (or teacup!) to help me remember how many times I’ve filled it that day. This makes it easy to reach my “half my body weight in ounces of water” hydration goal.

Healthy Winter Habits 7: Humidify/Purify the Air

In addition to drinking your water, consider running a humidifier in your home. When the air is more humid, it keeps your skin from drying up, reduces the risk of transmitting viruses, and helps keep your sinuses healthy.

You might also consider an in-home air purifier, which can help to filter out some of the nasties that you’d otherwise be breathing all day.

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8: Practice Mindfulness/Meditate

If you don’t already have a mindfulness practice, the winter is a great time to adopt one. Although we tend to associate mindfulness with meditation (which is wonderful and worth your time) true mindfulness simply means fully inhabiting the present moment.

In a culture that is full of distractions, this can be tough. Start small. When you’re talking with your child, experiment with giving him your full attention. When you’re washing the dishes, pay attention to the warmth of the water and the sparkliness of the suds. When you’re eating, focus on the smell, flavor, and texture of each bite.

Slowly add more and more of these mindful moments to your day, and you’ll likely notice less stressful days and improved sleep.

Related: Mindfulness for Moms–Why You Need to Try it and How to Get Started

9: Declutter

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I’m a nut about decluttering at any time of year. Because in winter we’re spending more time indoors, however, it makes sense to make our environments as cozy and clutter-free as possible.

This doesn’t have to be an arduous process. Set a timer for ten minutes, choose one small area that’s bugging you—a table, shelf, or drawer—and quickly knock out as much as you can. Repeat tomorrow, and before you know it, your home will be clutter-free.

Healthy Winter Habits 10: Write in a Journal

I think the winter naturally lends itself towards introspection, and journaling is a great way to do it. Set a regular time to get your thoughts on paper. (I like to write for a few minutes each day as a part of my morning routine.)

There’s no wrong way to do journaling. When you’re just starting out, you might use prompts to help give you ideas. The journaling app I use, Day One, has a daily prompt included as does this lovely paper journal.

Another technique I love when journaling is writing “morning pages” as described by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way. She recommends three pages daily of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing. It’s a great way to dig deeply into some things that might be lurking beneath the surface.

11: Choose a New Hobby

Winter is a lovely time to take up a new hobby. Knitting is a natural, cozy choice, but there are literally dozens of options to choose from. You might take up a creative hobby like jewelry making that you can do solo, snuggled up indoors. You might choose an active outdoor hobby such as cross-country skiing. Or possibly make connections with others through a social hobby like ballroom dancing.

Consider what you need a little more of in your life and choose a hobby that will help you get it.

RELATED: 100+ Hobbies for Moms that Will Make Your Life Fun Again

12: Plan Things to Look Forward to

One of the reasons January feels tough is that we don’t have any holidays on the horizon for a while. This doesn’t mean that you can’t plan something wonderful for yourself to look forward to, though.

You can plan big things, like vacations, and small ones, such as a trip to your favorite bookstore or coffee shop. Make an effort to plan one little treat for yourself at least once a week or so. These don’t have to be time-consuming or expensive, but they can give you lots to be excited about.

Healthy Winter Habits 13: Connect with Loved Ones

Once the holidays have passed, we often don’t get to see as much of our loved ones as we like. Winter weather can make travel difficult, and busy schedules can make it tough to connect. 

Look for small ways to connect with those that you love. Texting and FaceTime are obvious choices, but you can get even more creative. You might play Scrabble online with your brother. Send handwritten letters back and forth with your best friend. Perhaps you could meet for a weekly digital happy hour with your coworkers.

Look for ways, too, that you can combine some of the habits and activities listed above. Meeting weekly with your sister for a morning ice skating date knocks out a hobby, exercise, time outdoors, and time with a loved one all at once.

14: Volunteer

There are obviously lots of selfless reasons to volunteer your time this winter. You might not have considered, though, how volunteering can help your own mental and physical health.

It’s a great way to meet and connect with new people who share your values. Volunteering can help remind you of your own good fortune and give you a chance to use your gifts in service to the world. And all of this goodness can’t help but make you happier. Indeed, a 2020 study by researchers in the UK found that volunteering increased participants’ happiness over time.

And it’s good for your physical health, too. Volunteering has been linked to individuals who live longer. And a 2013 study at Carnegie Mellon University showed that volunteering for 200 hours per year decreased participants’ risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure) by 40%!!!

There you go: 14 winter habits to employ that will help keep you happy and healthy (even in January). Of course, you don’t have to limit these things to the winter months. They’ll help keep you physically and mentally well all year round.

Do It Now:

  1. Choose one winter habit from the list that you’d like to put into practice.
  2. Start with a teeny tiny version of that habit–something so small that your brain can’t talk you out of doing it. (ex: do one pushup, declutter for 10 minutes)
  3. Decide what you will use to anchor this small habit seamlessly into your day or week. (ex: every day after lunch I will walk around the block for 1 minute; every time I go to the grocery store, I will add one extra vegetable to my cart)
  4. Celebrate yourself whenever you do your habit to help your brain want to do it more. (ex: give yourself a high five, say to yourself “that’s like me!”, or drop a quarter in a jar you’re using to save for something cool)
  5. Once habit number one feels solid, move onto the next one one your list.
  6. Want more help with habit change? Check out my Hack Your Habits course!

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