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8 Ways to Enjoy a Seemingly Endless Winter

8 Ways to Enjoy a Seemingly Endless Winter

“Winter is coming” is not just something you hear on Game of Thrones; for those living in the Northern Hemisphere the mood of doom and gloom associated with winter is reality. Cheer up—winter comes and goes, and with a bit of creativity you can brighten up its dreariness. Here are some ideas to have fun with:

1. Drink In the Warmth

Why does winter send chills down your spine? Most likely, it’s raw winds, blizzards, or sleet outdoors, and dry air, sneezing, and coughing indoors—a recipe for a headache, sore throat, and a sick leave. To keep them at bay, keep a vacuum flask with hot herbal tea at home to drink immediately after coming in from the cold. The assortment of drinks to fight off chills is vast; check out some of the recipes!

2. No to Winter Blues, Yes to Activity

The key to a full life is not letting yourself succumb to the blues. The ways to do it are innumerable. Stop browsing Instagram—instead of envying friends’ pictures from a skating rink, a concert, or a hot-chocolate-and-pajamas party, do something like that yourself. Join your friends, or go and meet new people; and presto, there you have some warm winter memories!

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Enjoy the little things, like your cat purring by your side in the morning, birds chirping outside in a spell of sunshine, streetlights flickering in fancy patterns on a frost-stained window; even a bowl of good old-fashioned soup instead of a microwave-defrosted pizza can make your day.

3. A Christmas Bargain on Cars

Planning to buy a car? Here’s some good news: according to the latest market statistics, there’s been a noticeable decline in prices on pre-owned convertibles, as quite many people are willing to sell before Christmas in order to get money for celebrations. Ironically, buying a convertible in December is rather practical—modern ones, made since 1996, have foldable metal hardtops and other improvements making them fit for winter. Moreover, classic convertibles are eligible for insurance with handsome policy benefits. Don’t miss out on the opportunity.

4. Après-Ski—A Social Touch to a Sporting Holiday

Skiing is a habitual holiday pastime for thousands of families, as well as student or corporate groups. However, skiing per se gets rather boring after a while, and tourists start seeking entertainment opportunities as well. If you are not keen on rushing down pistes, make sure to pick out resorts with après-ski options. Dusk-till-dawn parties at bars, chic restaurants, shopping, casinos, concerts—après-ski encompasses all these and more.

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As for mountain sports, skiing and snowboarding are not the only two out there. If you’re on the lookout for fresh experiences, try some fusion winter sports, like ski biking, ice surfing, speed flying over snowy slopes—many resorts will provide you with all that is necessary.

5. Indulge in Sweet Memories

If pre-holiday stress is getting at you, a sure way to relieve it is relishing something sweet—no, not sweetmeats, but memories. Remember Christmases of your childhood and how delighted you were even with the simplest things. It doesn’t take a posh Christmas party to make you happy; just taking a walk down brightly-lit streets alongside decorated shop windows can fill you with festive spirit.

6. Save on Bills to Buy More Gifts

In case you favor more practical ways of enjoying yourself—like optimizing your expenses—there’s a wise way of reducing your heating bill: warm yourself instead of heating the entire house. If you have no small kids or temperature-sensitive pets, it’s no use heating the house day and night. You can make do with incandescent bulbs (they give off heat along with light), heated mattress pads, a heated keyboard pad, and an extra layer of clothing. In a month compare the bill with the previous one—the difference will surprise you.

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7. Start Spring Cleaning in Advance

Spring cleaning is a tradition of our ancestors: they heated their dwellings with wood and coal, so by spring the entire house was full of soot, ash, and dust. But we have no such problem, so maybe it is better not to waste beautiful spring days but do spring-cleaning in winter, when we are unwilling to go out anyway?

8. Go Where It Is Warm

If summer has left us, why not follow it? Take a trip to where it is warm and have an excellent time, forgetting for a while about snow and howling winds. Just make sure to prepare for it carefully: learn all about your destination, arrange your affairs to take care of themselves in your absence, find out how to stand up for your rights in case your flight is delayed or cancelled (for example, with the help of Flightright).

It is not our surroundings that make us happy, it is our attitude towards them. Stay positive, and you’ll have happy and joyous memories in spite of the winter gloom!

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Featured photo credit: Winter/@Doug88888 via flickr.com

More by this author

Melissa Burns

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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