With the holidays fading into the rearview mirror and warm summer days still months away, take advantage of Chapel Hill’s unique destinations and resources to keep your spirits buoyed. Try these activities and habits to nourish your mental and physical wellbeing until spring coaxes us out of hibernation.
Get Your Vitamin D
More than 40 percent of Americans have a deficiency of vitamin D, which supports immune, brain and nervous system health; promotes healthy bones and teeth; and reduces levels of depression and anxiety. The best way to get this essential vitamin is to get outside where you can soak up the sunshine, aiming for 10-30 minutes of natural light a few times per week.
Midday is the best time to catch the sun’s most beneficial rays, so use your lunch break to step outside and enjoy a brisk walk to stay warm. On weekends, bundle up and take the Free Walking Tour of Chapel Hill, or explore the local greenways on the Morgan Creek and Fan Branch Trails.
Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, control pain and improve sleep. Start with two to three minute sessions with these beginner tips.
Float therapy, a relaxation and therapeutic technique, is now available in Chapel Hill at Float Areté. Their state-of-the-art pods contain 10 inches of water and 1,000 pounds of dissolved Epsom salt to support your body while restricting sensory input so you can achieve a deepened meditative or heightened flow state. They also offer Infrared Saunas which use the full spectrum of light to help decrease cortisol, increase serotonin, stimulate metabolism and detoxify the body.
Fall Into a Fitness Routine
Regular exercise not only benefits your body, but it’s also great for lifting your mood. Find a workout routine that you enjoy so you’re more likely to stick with it, and invite a friend to make yourself more accountable. Chapel Hill offers a wide array of intramural leagues, classes that will push you with healthy competition, 24-hour gyms, rec centers and pools. Short on time? Squeeze in a workout at home with these free online classes.
Clean Up Your Diet
While comfort food may sound enticing while curled up on the couch, opt for lean proteins, like chicken and turkey, which are a great source of energy that will help you beat the winter fatigue. Watch out for sugars lurking in processed foods, like salad dressings and juices, and go easy on the sweets. To get all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs, fill the majority of your plate with lots of colorful fresh vegetables.
Give yourself something to look forward to—whether it’s hitting a professional goal, planning a family reunion, or taking a bucket-list vacation. A healthy sense of anticipation infuses energy and happiness into our daily routines and can help us endure tough times.
Setting goals is a great way to stay motivated, provide a sense of direction and turn your future dreams into a reality. When creating goals, it’s handy to use the “S.M.A.R.T.” framework—making objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
Share the Love
Giving back to the community is a win-win for everyone. Find a cause that’s near and dear to your heart and sign up to volunteer or get involved. Not only will you be helping people, animals or the planet, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with other passionate folks and feel good about spending your time making a difference.
Chapel Hill is a great place to live year any time of year, but with these tips, we hope you’ll stay happy and healthy all winter long.