I HATE WINTER. Despise it. Loathe it. Not even the knowledge that the next 2 months in Boston would be the last I see of winter for a long time can help me deal. I want to sleep more, the lack of the sun’s warmth on my skin leaves me depressed and the -17 Celsius truly feels like my nose will fall off on the tissue I use to wipe it every 5 seconds. Every winter day is a challenge harder than figuring out the purpose of life. Sound familiar? To help ease the pain, I looked at the things I do every day and figured out how to beef up my routine without much effort, to make me feel better both physically and mentally.
Essential. This is arguably the easiest thing to do for ourselves, yet the one we disregard the most. I remember the exact date my friend Lys from Estonia and I began the “water challenge.” It was December 26th of 2009, while traveling to Florida. It started off with us drinking 1 liter of water per day. Fast forward 7 years to today when I drink between 3 and 4 liters daily (101 – 135 oz), out of my giant TrinColl bottle (alum representttt). It’s no coincidence that I’ve only gotten minorly sick 6 times since 2009. Thanks to hydration, my skin cleared up, I’ve got more energy, my digestion is better and I sweat colds out like a beast. Tap or filtered, doesn’t matter as long as you’re drinking clean water. Carry your bottle around in reminder to drink up. Thank me later.
Ginger gets me all sorts of excited! I buy it fresh from the Russian store around the corner for less than $1 and put about 3 slices per handful of spinach. The warmth and spiciness will make your blood flow more efficiently in the cold months. I won’t even go into the subject of spinach – you already know it’s good for you; the hack with that is to make it taste better. My smoothie normally includes carrot, peach or apple, banana, flax seed and lemon on top of the 2 super ingredients, in order to bring a variety of nutrients and make spinach taste less grassy.
#3 GYM. EVERY. DAY.
Before you panic, I don’t mean do intense sh*t like Tabata or HIIT every single day. I mean consistency. Going to the gym every day, even if it’s for just 30 minutes, gets your body and mind accustomed to the exercise and affirm your choice of living a healthy lifestyle. (Seriously, you’ll feel good about yourself just setting foot at the gym) I’ll discuss the workouts that I do in depth in another post, but the general idea is be consistent. Think of it as playtime – instead of rolling around in the sandbox, you ride a bike, toss a bowl with a friend, do some speed skaters (love those, incredible for the thighs) and again, sweat, which is incredibly important for not getting sick.
#4 REPLACE MUSIC WITH PODCASTS
Remember how I said these hacks aren’t just about your body? We’ve got to take care of your mind as well. Instead of playing the same Disclosure song over and over on my phone, I started listening to podcasts instead. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE Tim Ferriss’ shows on The 4 Hour Work Week. This baller entrepreneur sits down with successful people from all walks of life, inclusing Elon Musk, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Popova, Novak Djokovic, etc. and picks their brains about philosophy, money, fitness, meditation. it’s remarkable how much you’ll learn in just 1 hour of listening to these conversations, plus where else would you get a personal access to some of the world’s most successful people? Bonus: the things they discuss will make you seem extremely well-read at dinner parties and on dates.
# 5 PICK YOUR NETFLIX RIGHT
Following my previous point, I used to waste 5 hours a day and more watching *deep breath* Sin Senos no Hay Paraíso – a Colombian soap opera, where one simple action takes 3 episodes to unfold. Thankfully, I speak Spanish so I could practice my understanding while watching, but other than that, the show was an utter waste of time. The same goes for all reality shows – The Kardashians, The Bachelor, Big Brother…pick your poison. What I do instead is skip to the ambiguous “documentary” section of Netflix and watch something that will truly broaden my horizons and show me a different culture or way of thinking. Some of my favorites are Fat, SIck & Nearly Dead, Maidentrip, Samsara, Planet Earth and last, but certainly not least – the luckiest (and immensely hard-working) a*shole in the world – Anthony Bourdain. What you watch counts.