I don’t know about you, but I find it so difficult to motivate myself in Winter, especially to get outside! I definitely feel that lack of sunshine and warmth, and the idea of packing on the layers just to go for a walk, when I could just get into pyjamas is no tough debate to me. The pjs win! Don’t get me wrong, some days, staying in and watching a film with some great food and the curtains closed is absolutely the way to go. However, I know that a walk always improves how I feel, and was walking in Winter every day last year, leaving me feeling fulfilled each day, so lately I’ve been trying to get myself out again.
I’ve recently moved to a new area and have been exploring new places to walk, coming across some great places so far and seeing many more (from the car!) I’d like to go to. So aside from talking myself into this form of self-care and persuading myself to find more, I have some tips on how to get out there no matter the weather below, but let’s explore why we should first.
The benefits of walking in Winter
It’s easy to think of walking as just a way to burn calories, but it’s so much more.
Here are just some of the benefits of Winter walking:
- Rejuvenate skin – have you noticed how smooth and glowing your skin is after a good Winter walk?
- Boost immune system – very much needed in these colder months. It can help when you have a cold too surprisingly, with the fresh air helping you to breathe more easily. Wrap up warm though!
- Refresh your mind – colder temperatures can boost our cognitive abilities. In fact, in a test of 5 tasks, the Winter season was an advantage in 4 of the 5. (Click for the science)
- Reduce stress – going outdoors can boost production of serotonin and endorphins, the mood-boosting chemicals that make us feel good, plus lead us away from stressful situations.
- The usual walking benefits – reducing risk of heart disease and stroke, improving high blood pressure, regulating cholesterol, improving balance, and so on.
How I motivate myself to walk in Winter
Keeping in mind my future self
Does anyone else do this? What will tomorrow’s Tina regret or be pleased about? How will tonight’s Tina feel when rewarding herself with ALL the chocolate (I do this walk or not!)? And how will further into the future me feel about not using these days in a positive and productive way.
Remembering the beautiful places I’ve found before
This reminds me of how great it is when you find a new favourite spot. A place you can pause and reflect, or if it’s cold, pace and turn back around!
Have an exciting destination in mind
I often prefer to just wander and see where I end up, but it’s great when you know there’s a cosy little pub or coffee shop to end up in after a chilly walk.
You don’t need to have a destination or idea of what your walk will involve. Let yourself get lost, cross the river, follow the unknown path. Embrace your inner child and explore your surroundings.
Find the ideal coat
The perfect excuse to go shopping! The one thing that used to bother me was not feeling comfortable in a Winter coat. They’re often stuffy, too chunky, or not actually waterproof. However, I have found the perfect Winter coat and haven’t used any others since (coat declutter time?) and it’s made a huge difference to my motivation as I just stick it on over whatever I was wearing in the house, covering everything.
Disclaimer: I was offered a coat from Lighthouse Clothing with no requirement to review, but I need to share with you as I’m genuinely impressed! I chose the Abigail coat, and it’s waterproof, wind proof, and has a cooling effect for longer walks where I’d usually end up carrying my coat. I’ve worn it in the pouring rain, rough winds, and am just waiting for the snow to hit to test it in that, but I’m confident I’ll be comfortable. Plus it’s 3/4 length so great coverage and I can sit for a rest outside without worrying about my other clothes!
Make it sociable
Invite a friend for a walk and catch up, rant to your partner after work while stomping local grounds (just me?), or join a group to socialise while walking.
Like a target? Try to beat your previous walk’s time or distance and see how far you can manage. Or you could try a well-known hike or hill walk. Don’t be too hard on yourself though – the joy is in the fresh air and getting outside.
Find ways to make yourself feel good about what you’re doing and don’t just walk because you think you should and advice tells you to – it should be an enjoyable activity rather than feeling forced the whole time, despite the first few minutes feeling that way!