The Winter Wellness Challenge #3

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Anyone who lives where there are seasons has felt the pull of winter. You know that temptation to slow down and fill up on the comfort foods? If you missed the first two blogs in this series be sure to check out the Winter Wellness Challenge #1 and Winter Wellness Challenge #2 to catch up!

Winter Wellness area three is an important one. If I had to pick one thing that gives us the most bang for the buck in our health, it’s sleep—not too much and not too little.  We need sleep to be “just right”.

What we tell ourselves: “I’m so tired. The darkness just makes me want to hit the snooze and sleep in.”
Try telling yourself: “I have powerful ways to create the energy that will carry me through the day.”

Oh boy we are indeed programmed to want more sleep in the winter, but that doesn’t mean we have to throw in the productivity towel. This is the time to get your morning and evening routines solid. Embrace getting enough sleep by setting a realistic bedtime and having a calming routine to get a deep night’s sleep. But then also set a realistic wake-up time, and create an energizing routine to get up in the morning.

I think we all still have a little toddler in our brain that doesn’t like bedtime, bucks against the routine and just wants to go with the flow. The truth is though, we all thrive on routine.  We don’t have to be militant about it, but freedom comes from healthy routines. Here’s one of my favorites. Look carefully for each element and adapt as many as you can to your situation. Don’t throw away the concept if one thing doesn’t apply to you.  

My friend Sarah goes to bed at 10:30 pm. At 10 pm she starts her routine off by turning off all screens and excess lights.  She briefly gets things together for the next day (bags, clothes, lunches, etc), gets changed into comfy PJs. She washes her face, brushes her teeth, writes down three things she’s grateful for that day and why (how they make her feel).  She briefly reviews her next day schedule, defines three small things that she will get done and thinks about what she’s looking forward to the next day. She especially defines what time she’s getting up in the morning, how she will feel and what she is going to do. All of this takes about 20 minutes, then it’s time to cuddle up and off to sleep.

When her alarm goes off in the morning, she gets up and walks to the adjacent bathroom to turn it off. As she walks into the bathroom she turns on the light. The phone is right by the sink, so she goes ahead and brushes her teeth, splashes some refreshing water on her face. She uses the restroom, washes her hands and drinks water from the water bottle she set out the night before. That water bottle is right by her workout clothes so she puts those on, smiles approvingly at herself in the mirror.  She picks up her phone, turns to the playlist she pulled up the night before and heads on to go for a walk with her neighborhood gal pal all the while cherishing these quiet moments for herself before her kids are awake!

See how setting yourself up the night before can lead you to have a good morning? Try it!

Put it on paper:  

1. Write down a morning routine and a bedtime routine.  Be as elaborate as you want—write down your total ideal routines. Think about how you want to feel in the morning and evening and all the possible things you can layer on each other to get there.  
2. Now, if those seem overwhelming, consider pairing it down to 2-3 small things you will do to relax in the evening and 2-3 small things that will energize you in the morning.  Practice those things for a few days and then add on from there.

Don’t forget to join our Winter Wellness Challenge and get a gift from me!

Here’s the plan:

1. If you missed the first two Winter Wellness Challenge areas check them out here and here.  We are tackling the third one today and I’m going to send you another one next week.

2. If you want to play along with my challenge, complete the “Put it on paper” homework for each week and share a tip for others on Facebook or Instagram.  Use the hashtag #WinterWellnessChallenge AND tag @SignaturePrimaryCareandWellness in each post.

3. Join my Enjoy Wellness Facebook group to hang out with my crew and get more support and accountability.

4. If you complete all four posts and join the group by January 1st, you will not only feel SO MUCH better going through winter, but you will also get a gift from me.  That’s right. I feel so strongly about this I want EVERYONE who does this to get a prize from me.

Keep those Winter Wellness Tips coming on Facebook or Instagram!


Dr. Paige Gutheil is a board-certified osteopathic family medicine physician and advocate for a Whole Health approach to your wellness.  She is on a mission to help people thrive by looking at all the influences on health...body, mind, and spirit. Dr. Paige is the founder of an innovative team-based direct primary care practice, Signature Primary Care and Wellness in Hilliard, Ohio. She and her colleagues provide comprehensive primary care, counseling, coaching, nutrition education and yoga to help people all over central Ohio and beyond make fun, achievable changes towards their healthiest and happiest life possible!