I love this time of year–I’m breaking out my sweaters and scarves, sipping on hot coffee and tea instead of iced, and snuggling down under blankets when I get home from work instead of sweating. As much as I love the summer, I was ready when the cooler weather rolled in this year and I’m embracing it. I tend to “hibernate” when the weather cools off: I eat bigger, more comforting meals and spend less time outside and exercising; this year, I’m making a plan for myself so I don’t fall into a rut like that.

It’s a bit easier now to exercise outside (November onward it gets so much harder because of the cold and it gets darker earlier), so I try to take advantage of it as often as I can. In the morning, if it’s nice and I have some extra time (this doesn’t happen as often as I’d like…), I try to walk to the next train stop after mine; it’s a little over a mile away from me and more trains stop there than at my station. It’s such an easy way to get myself moving in the morning and I find that I’m more alert when I arrive at work. I also try to walk more often at lunch; I’m in a busier part of the city now (at my last job, I was in a less busy, very touristy section of the city with plenty of parks), but I can take as short or long a walk as I’d like and there is plenty to see! If I haven’t done either of these things during the work day, I have to drag myself out of my apartment after work to go to a nearby park to walk. It’s beautiful there and I love it, but once I get home from work and put on more comfortable clothes and eat, it’s more difficult to motivate myself to leave again. In the end, it’s so worth it–I feel better for exercising and I sleep better that night.

I make a lot of crock pot meals during the colder months–it’s convenient because I can make a large amount of something and freeze my leftovers for the the few days. Recently, I’ve been looking into healthy alternatives for some recipes I use; for example, I love chili but instead of using ground beef, I’ve tried making vegetarian chili (it turned out great, by the way!)–it tasted the same and I didn’t have to feel as guilty eating it! Also, I don’t buy any sugary drinks or ice cream for myself–if I get a craving for something sweet, I make something for myself and I make sure the ingredients are healthy.

So far, I think these things have worked for me: I feel better mentally and physically because I’m taking an active role in my own well-being. I know there is still spring-like weather out there, but I’m so ready for more fall :).