Goodbye seasonal sadness: Stay motivated while combating the winter blues

By Shantala Sonnad, MD  |  12/13/2018

I am sure we are all on the same page this time of year—feeling frozen, cranky and upset it is pitch black before we even leave the office!

Winter is nearly here and with temperatures in the teens, we are often tempted to forego the gym and snuggle up next to the fireplace and catch up on our favorite holiday movies.

However, being dedicated to fitness and health during these frigid months will improve numerous aspects of your health to not only make you feel better, but also keep you looking great throughout the holiday season and beyond.

To help you hit your fitness goals this winter, here are a few key ways to beat the winter blues and keep you motivated amid the frosty weather.

  1. Devise an exercise plan. Set up your monthly workout plan, which can also be tracked by a smart device. A lack of planning leads to a lack of exercise! Set attainable short-term goals. You will be so proud once you reach those goals and be encouraged to keep going.
  1. Use your smart devicein a good way. Numerous free apps on our phones provide easy, on-the-go workouts, whether you prefer yoga, weights or my personal favorite, a great HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout. Utilize these tools to find convenient workouts that fit your needs and schedule.
  1. Book a class or put gym membership on your Christmas list. Many gyms offer discounts during this time of year. The gift of fitness is a great way to set yourself, or a loved one, up for success in the New Year.
  1. Invest in winter activewear. Wearing multiple layers of clothing, and cold weather activewear, helps you retain heat for the duration of your workout when the temperature drops. 
  1. Get a workout buddy. Those who exercise together stay happy and healthy together! Team up with your friends, colleagues or loved ones and motivate one another in your fitness journey.
  1. Re-create early sunlight. Natural daylight has been proven to help combat even the darkest of winter blues. Invest in a bedside lamp that simulates natural daylight to have a more energetic start to your day.
  1. Start a gratitude journal. Each day, write down five things that you are happy for. Journaling your gratitude inevitably brings positive thoughts to your day.
  1. Focus on work-life balance. Eighty-five percent of people do not have a satisfying work-life balance, and this can be even more frustrating in the dead of winter. Find time for yourself and family by getting active together. Family hikes and exercise outings will ensure health and happiness during the end of this year and into 2019!

Dr. Shantala Sonnad is a board-certified family physician with Health Quest Medical Practice in LaGrangeville, NY. To schedule an appointment, call HQMP-Connect at 1-888-525-HQMP (4767) (TTY: 800-421-1220). Learn more at