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We are right in the middle of winter, and while we are ever so thankful for the blue skies and snowy adventures in our Mile High City, spring does not *officially* arrive until March 20th. Plus, we have all seen that looming snowflake in the forecast through May. Even with the adventure life readily available in ski towns, cabin fever is real.
Feeling antsy for warmer weather? Here are my six favorite ways to escape the cabin, stay active (indoors) and invest in my own self-care during the long Denver winter season.
Put the pedal to the metal.
Let’s bring the bike indoors this season, sweat it out and make shift happen at studios like Shift Cycle + Fitness in Sunnyside! Get ready to raise your heart rate, climb an imaginary mountain and cycle your heart out. I love ending my day with this high-energy workout. Not only am I literally letting go of the email life, but I’m also pedaling to the beat and channeling my best Lady Gaga all while forgetting about the cold outside.
“Beyond fitness, a cycling class can prep your mind and soul to conquer really hard sh*t. In every class we set an intention, practice gratitude and open ourselves up to making a shift in our lives and in our bodies,” says Whitney Herman, founder of Shift Cycle + Fitness. “When we conquer hard stuff on the bike and push ourselves out of our comfort zone, we find the power and fortitude to overcome daily stresses, insecurities, and negativity in our everyday life and start kicking ass at positivity and shining a little brighter.”
Eliminate that winter upper body hunch.
The cold in the air creates a reaction in our bodies to literally hunker down and hunch over for warmth and protection of our core. Perhaps each night you feel the shoulder crunch and neck tightness after braving a day in the Mile High or out on the trails. You need to release the tension and channel total relaxation. After a morning hike in the mountains of Evergreen, I treat myself to a Sacred Stone Journey Massage at Sacred Stone Day Spa. Featuring heated toe stones and chakra balancing, you’ll instantly kick that lingering winter chill. Customize the level of depth and your preferred pressure—then just climb into the heated bed and take a deep breath as your massage therapist spends a little extra time on your traps, neck, and collarbone this time of year.
From 0 to 95, bring on the BIG heat.
This might be blasphemy in Colorado—the home of the heated yoga studios—but I’m not usually a heated yoga human. Eeek! However, I will make an exception during winter. Snow on the ground? Sign me up for all the heat. BIG Power Yoga in the RiNo brings sweat and inspiring conversation! Experience the best heated flow followed by a lavender infused towel during savasana. Ahhh.
“The heat in Baptiste Yoga is often misunderstood to be designed to simply make the practice harder,” says Laura Rust, founder of BIG Power Yoga. “The truth is, the 95 degree temperature is intentionally used to help you get deeper into your body (everything is more malleable in heat, especially tight muscles!), help you detox and release old stuff (everything from physical toxins to toxic thoughts), and help get you out of your comfort zone in a way that calls forth full presence.”
Keep hydrated to keep healthy.
If you live in Colorado, you might have been infected with the gastro virus or perhaps the 6-week respiratory cough rocking daycares all over our sweet city. With temps dropping up and down, the flu is relentless, especially this time of year! Get your vitamins intravenously from the team of nurses that hold down the best IV treatment center in Denver, Hydrate IV Bar. It’s no secret that hydration is key to health and should be the main focus with the Colorado altitude, especially if you have a fireplace (hello dehydration!).
"We provide IV hydration therapy in a relaxing setting for deficiencies such as altitude sickness, low energy, athletic recovery, and general health and wellness,” says Katie Wafer, owner of Hydrate IV Bar. “Our custom IV solutions are safe and effective, and are formulated to help you feel better faster."
A sweat-worthy playground for adults.
I love walking up to Fitness in the City on Delaware Street and reading the big graffiti wall that tells me to ‘BE A GOOD PERSON’. Honestly, when I show up to sweat, I actually am a good person—way nicer than I was before. I love Stefan Olander’s Meta Circuit class because it’s like a playground for grown-ups. The circuit training style class focuses on cardio, movement, and fun. We swing kettlebells, run ladders, lift barbells and jump rope all in one class. Drenched, breathing heavy and sweat dripping after 60 minutes results in high-fives… and has you feeling pretty damn grateful for the work you put in.
Bounce out the winter blues.
Some days I really need to trick my body into working out with a fun surprise. Nothing beats rebounding on trampolines at Compass Fitness in South Denver. Owner and powerhouse trainer, Jillian Keavany, brings the sweat to the trampolines with Sound Off headphones to shake up your morning—or evening—ritual of movement.
“Trampoline workouts are a GREAT way to experience a high cardio experience without the high impact on joints! It's wicked fun (with a side of terrible, I like to say), high energy, and with a consistent high heart rate, burns loads of calories throughout,” says Jillian. “If you like to ski, this is the perfect cross-training workout for incredible leg and glute strength.”
However you choose to take care of yourself this winter, welcome spring with a little extra self-care and MINDBODY!
Well, here we are—a couple of months into 2021. A year that we all (still) hope will be much better than the last. This past year was nothing short of a dumpster fire—between the pandemic, ongoing racial injustice, and the most dramatic election ever, 2020 was riddled with anxiety, grief, anger, and was just downright exhausting.
Heck—if somebody even dared to ask me how I was doing last year, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and say, “Omg I can’t even.” I mean, what other year can you think of that became its own expression? When something would go horribly awry, we would literally blame it on the year by saying, “2020, am I right?” complete with a sheepish chuckle —and eventually some tears when you realized just how many times you’ve said those words. Seriously, I lost count a long time ago. It was not healthy.
Sorry, tangent—where was I? Ah yes, 2021. The good news is there’s still hope that this year won’t make us want to roll into a tiny little ball on the floor and cry. Well, at least not as much as its predecessor—I’m not a miracle worker, you guys. However, I do have some wellness tips to help you stay just a little bit cooler, calmer, and collected-er this year.
If there’s one thing we learned last year, it’s that wellness is always here for us. Maybe at this time last year, your goal of going to Pilates five days a week came to a screeching halt as fitness studios were required to shut down to protect the community. For a time, we were all frazzled because our usual workouts and wellness routines were turned upside practically overnight. I think I speak for us all when I say that our favorite fitness class, and the community that comes with it, plays a huge role in our overall happiness. The good news is the wellness industry has come a long way in just under a year.
While it is true that some areas still aren’t allowing the in-studio experience for their workout classes due to the pandemic, we have more options to practice wellness safely than ever before. Right now, some studios are allowed to operate with in-person, socially distanced classes—and pretty much every studio broke into the virtual space to provide fitness classes you could participate in from the comfort of your own home. Not to mention, at-home virtual options are typically cheaper and allow you to try our studios from all over the country. With online gym memberships like Mindbody Flex, you can have access to thousands of live stream classes at your fingertips for less than $5 per class.
Look, 2020 was scary. After a year like that, it’s can be hard to tap into a positive mindset. But it’s more important now than ever before to let go of assumptions and focus on the good that 2021 can bring. This shift to acceptance will ultimately help you put your best foot forward in any situation that arises.
Take a step back and try to focus on the things we can be grateful for in this moment. Like what? Well, for starters more and more people are receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, which means things are slowly, but surely, getting back to normal. I, for one, am grateful that my at-risk family members have already received their first rounds of vaccinations and are on the path of staying healthy since they are protected from the coronavirus.
The best thing we can do right now for our mental health is to learn to give ourselves some grace through practicing self-care. And this can look different for everyone. Maybe your version of self-care comes in the form of daily journaling, getting a workout session in, curling up with a good book, or having that glass of wine while taking a bubble bath. Whatever makes YOU feel good—keep doing it.
To keep my mental health in check, something that I’ve started incorporating into my daily self-care routine is practicing mindfulness. Some days that means I focus on my breathwork practice—other days I may scroll through the Mindbody app to find a virtual meditation class or Yoga Nidra class. I’ve also embraced the motto there’s an app for that. Right now, I’m really loving the Headway app because it helps me set daily intentions from the moment I wake up with a morning survey and then checks in with me at the end of the day with an evening survey. Having the ability to write down my goals and hold myself accountable for them has really taken my self-care routine to the next level.
Some days we fall a little short of our goals—and guess what? THAT’S OKAY. Honestly, I think we should all just focus on being okay for the rest of the year. The past year caused us to be tough on ourselves and I encourage you to make this year kinder. Any new goals you set that involve changing habits or overhauling your lifestyle will likely have some setbacks. So, when that happens, remember to be compassionate with yourself.
If there’s anything I want you to take away from this blog post is to let go of the illusion that perfection is always the end goal. When in doubt I always remind myself of something my favorite spin instructor (hey Steph!) says: “If you look for perfection, you'll never be content. Just focus on your growth.” Allow that to sink in and make it a goal to remind yourself of this every single day.
And remember: You don’t have to—and really shouldn’t—give up hope that things will get better this year, even if you feel overwhelmed now. Having a positive mindset is never a silly thing. In fact, it is actually quite admirable; you’re an admirable badass.