Chris and I are born and raised Canadians so we know a thing or two about long, cold, harsh winters. Living in a cold country tends to make most people hibernate for 6 months of the year, living like hermits.
This can harm your physical and mental health. Use these tricks we have learned over the years to stay fit and healthy even in the coldest temperatures while also growing as a couple.
Learn to Cook Healthy Comfort Meals.
Quality time as a couple can be spent in the kitchen cooking up healthy and delicious meals for two. Nothing makes you warm up faster than a hearty home cooked meal made with love.
Figure out what veggies are in season and use those in everything for maximum nutrients and flavour. Think outside the box and experiment with foreign recipes filled with spices and heat. Spend your Sundays meal prepping healthy lunches together so you have one less thing to think about before heading out into the cold for work.
Start your winter food fest in advance by preserving all your favourite flavours after harvest season. Make your own tomato sauce base for future pastas. Grow some garden cabbage to make probiotic filled sauerkraut or pick some hot peppers and make a hot sauce to add flavour to all your new recipes. This is extra fun because you can learn a new skill together and try new things every year.
Some of our favourite quality time is spent in the kitchen, sipping on a glass of wine while we dance around each other baking fresh whole grain bread or making one of our classics Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. It’s way easier to eat healthy when you stop looking at cooking as a chore and start seeing it as an activity.
Comfort food does not have to mean loads of carbs, butter, or processed cheeses. It can be delicious while still being healthy, especially when you take the time to make it from scratch and use delicious flavours.
Find a winter sport you enjoy doing together
Even just trying different winter sports every weekend is a great way to get out of the house together. Take cute pictures, fall on your butts, cuddle with coffee afterwards. Maybe you will fall in love with a sport and start to look forward to winter and to a new healthy activity. If one of you is already into winter sports, take the time to teach your partner!
Sports like snowshoeing and cross country skiing are great for beginners and can give you an amazing workout while also experiencing the beauty of nature.
Downhill skiing and snowboarding are fun activities to try out and builds great abs when you are laughing your brains out after falling for the millionth time.
Ice skating might be a little less physically active but you can work on your balance while supporting one another. Bonus points if its an indoor rink and you get to wear a cute outfit and take pics!
There are winter sports for every type out there, you just have to get out of your house and try some out. You will find something you love and forever have a reason to look forward to winter, stay active, and stay social.
Go to the Gym
Get out of your dark house and actually go to the gym. Sure it sucks to start your car and be cold, but it will be great once you are at the gym, warm and sweating up a storm. What a great reason to leave the house.
Start taking crossfit classes together. Crossfit has a great community and soon you will look forward to every workout. You will get stronger, making those shovel sessions just another WOD to accomplish.
Take a hot yoga class and imagine you are sweating up a storm in the tropics. These classes are great for de-stressing and relaxing after long cold days. Try out an acroyoga class with your partner and find new ways you can work together. Acroyoga is based on trust more than strength so not only will you get healthier as a couple physically, but mentally too.
Exercise has been proven to increase endorphin’s, enhance mood and stave off depressive thoughts. Winter doesn’t have to be a buzzkill if you keep your body and mind healthy. Go check out our article by our Health and Fitness Coach Amanda Pennino to learn why working out with your partner is a great idea!
Use Light Therapy
For those of you that feel lethargic, irritable and depressed during the winter months, use of light therapy may be just what you need. Using these therapy lamps for 30 minutes in the morning can trick your body into thinking the days are longer than they are. They have been shown to work within 2-4 days of use. Check out this great article on Huffington Post on how to use light therapy effectively.
If winter makes your temper as short as the days, this might be the perfect technique to get you out of your winter funk. Start every morning with breakfast together and a little light therapy to make both your days more cheerful, energetic, and happy.
Light therapy lamps can be great for people who work night shifts, jet lag, SAD, and some sleep disorders, especially in the winter months when sunlight is in short supply. If you notice your partner has signs of the winter blues or may just need a good pick me up, this can be a great gift and a way to stave off winter together.
Winter can be tough on your mental health and staying social with friends and family is one of the best ways to keep grounded and mentally stable.
Stop hibernating and stay social! No-one wants to shovel out their car from 3 feet of snow and drive somewhere while they shiver before car heaters have started working. But truthfully those 10 minutes of discomfort will be the worth the moments you get to spend sitting on your friends couch laughing, or catching up with your sister at a cozy cafe.
Being stuck inside with your partner for most of the day can become a little too much and lead to nit picky fights, impatience, and all around annoyance with each other.
Get out of the house together or separately for a change in scenery. You will be happy to come back home and cuddle under some blankets after a day spent outside in the cold.
If winter is really getting you down, throw an indoor beach party. Turn up the heat, wear hawaiian shirts, make margaritas and guacamole, and play salsa music all evening. Keep the curtains closed and you will forget it’s -30degrees outside!
Appreciate Winters Beauty
As adults we lose out on what makes winter a magical time. Winter only means, getting up early for work in the dark, shoveling the driveway, icy dangerous sidewalks, and expensive heating bills.
Try and think back to when you once loved winter. If you can afford it, take a snow day from work. Throw on a pair of snow pants and make snow angels in the freshly fallen snow. Have a photoshoot together and get those instagram worthy shots.
It may be dark in the morning when you leave for work, but take a moment to enjoy the stillness of your street after a snowfall and your breath in the crisp clean air.
Shoveling isn’t very fun, but you can always take a second to put down your shovel and throw a snowball at the back of your unsuspecting partner, starting a snowball fight for the ages.
And of course, there is Christmas, when the evergreens smell delicious, the lights twinkle in the snow and everyone seems a little friendlier.
After all, winter is exactly what you make it! If you find the positive it will find you. Do not let the short days and cold weather bring you down. You are in control of making this winter and every winter your own wonderland! Go out there and breath in the fresh air!