mental health
BY: Dasha Anderson, MS, NASM-PES

Your Winter Blues Survival Guide

How to beat the winter blues

2020 was certainly a challenging year. But as you transition past the holidays and into 2021, it’ll be extra important to make sure you have a positive attitude and a strategy to get you through the winter and into 2021 as strong and capable as possible.

One way to enhance your mental and physical wellness in 2021 and fend off the winter blues is to take part in a healthy and mindful strength training routine.

Fitness should make you stronger

Physically, you deserve the right to feel capable, powerful and able-bodied. Compare yourself only to yourself and take full pride in your newfound abilities to move and experience your body pain-free and active. Your physical abilities—the milestones that you achieve and surpass in your workouts—will make you stronger mentally—they’ll make you a better decision-maker and a more confident person overall. You will soon see that you do not need anyone else to build you up; your health and training will do that for you.

Fitness should be the thing you go to when you’re feeling helpless or lost—your workouts will channel your inner strength. All you have to do is take the time and put in the work. You’ll learn to look forward to working out and even enjoy it. Eventually, your body will crave it. Your workouts will become the source from which you get your superpowers.

When you’re feeling down or unsure of things, celebrate your journey and forget about your destination. Your journey is your life, and it’s filled with movement, action, awareness, discovery, and motivation. It’s the life of someone on a quest. Just take everything day-by-day and enjoy it. Even the tough days—enjoy them!

How can you incorporate strength training into 2021 in a way that supports your mental and physical health? By following these four tips:

1. Continue to challenge yourself

Continue to challenge yourself as you did in the first week of your new workout regimen and the weeks after. You have to continue to discover yourself, as you did at the beginning of your workout routine.

2. Accept yourself, and have patience

This might actually be the hardest task of all. Most people fail because they want the world to unfold for them in a week or two, but that is not the case. It takes time. When people see changes in the first week or two of a new strength training routine, they get excited. But by week four, too often, I see people become discouraged because they can’t accept themselves— they want change to come in an instant. But this mindset is the wrong attitude, and this type of thinking leads to failure.

3. Reward yourself, and celebrate

Celebrations don’t have to be reserved for big occasions. In fact, celebrating the milestones of lifting a heavier weight, getting in all of your workouts, or simply staying on track and positive throughout the week are all warranted. Reward yourself, ideally with activity and healthy foods that you love, or by making time for things you enjoy doing.

4. Don’t worry!

It will take you years to regain your shape, strength, health, and positive outlook. Luckily, in my experience, 30, 60, or 90 days of devoting yourself to movement, exercise, a healthy regiment, and positive thought sets you on a great path. But still, there is always a continued effort. The key is not to look at the result. Instead, envision your goals in steps, enjoy those steps, and keep on going. Remember that you must accept yourself first, and you must keep moving. Keep up the routine, the training, the eating, and the personal discipline.

That is the ultimate life change, to accept yourself and STILL keep going. That, and only that, will empower you to live the kind of life that will lock in your fitness forever. You can do this. You only have a little further to go.

The concepts I discuss are simple, and yet sometimes we ignore them. We say the words “tomorrow” or “next week” or “on Monday! I will begin on Monday.” Cast that aside too—excuses can go on forever, and soon a year will pass, then two.

Do not cast yourself in a mold; human beings are too beautiful, and we have too much potential to remain the same and not evolve. Your job is to become a better version of yourself every single day. This will give you a level of satisfaction and fulfillment that very few other things can. I urge you to try. Every single person deserves to experience the feeling of being their best—physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Dasha L. Anderson is a celebrity trainer and fitness expert in New York City, with a master’s degree in exercise science and sports nutrition and a specialty in performance enhancement and injury prevention. She is also the founder and head certifying instructor of Kettlebell Kickboxing and has contributed to Self, Shape, Fitness Rx, and Epoch Times.

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