Love is in the air, but being cooped up in the winter can test any partner’s patience. It’s harder to find things to do together that bring a little excitement into your lives while still sticking to your healthy habits. Binging pizza and TV isn’t exactly an option! So what do you do when you want to spend time with your sweetie doing something fun and different together? You can carve out parts of each day to have a couple’s ritual, or you can spend a weekend in a new location trying winter sports! This collection includes a variety of ideas you can incorporate into your winter season to keep your relationship fresh and your health on track.
Get Sweaty in a Sauna
Winter makes us all a little restless. We can get cabin fever, cooped up at home and bored from the daily grind. You and your partner might find you argue over little things and have less patience for the personality traits that endeared you to them just a few months before. Step out of that rut by taking a weekend away!
While a weekend trip can include a lot of different things, in the winter it’s nice to spend time in a hot place, like a steam room or sauna. There are many affordable spas opening up these days, so take a look at what’s around you so you don’t have to drive too far. Spas are a relaxing break away from all the alerts and errands that inundate you through the week, and going to a new place with your partner will keep the relationship fresh and fun.
Spending time in a sauna together is not only a sweaty bonding experience! Sauna use is associated with health benefits like improved cardiovascular health, body composition, and hormone balance. Your healthy activities don’t need to all be at the gym: you can enjoy time together in a healthy and relaxing place like the sauna too. If you really want to splurge, you can get a couples’ massage as an added rejuvenation therapy.
Challenge Each Other!
Lots of couples thrive when there is a little healthy adversity between them! We’re not talking about serious competition here, we’re talking about seeing each other where we are in our lives and encouraging each other to push just a little more towards what we’re aiming for.
In a fitness context, this can be texting each other what you did in your workout to stay accountable, or suggesting making a quick healthy dinner together at home instead of ordering takeout. Many times, these can be the little daily things that fall through the cracks when you don’t have a partner. Creating healthy habits and healthy challenge helps you both to have the energy, motivation, and optimism that pushes you forward in life.
Try setting up weekly competitions with each other, such as running just a little bit longer, lifting just a little bit more, or alternating who gets to plan the workout that day.
Turn Bedtime into Bonding Time
In the evenings, after dinner when you start to lose energy, make time to focus on your favorite person. This isn’t when you catch up on the day’s chores, this is when you do slow things, like play quiet games, read books or articles, and discuss your ideas with each other. Many people fill their days with work, fill their evenings with chores, and never pause to have a meaningful conversation with the people they love. Our busy lives can deprive us of genuine connection unless we deliberately take time to bond with our important people.
Don’t stay up too late chatting, you both need your beauty sleep! To get the best night’s sleep, you’ll want to keep your lights dim and your screens off for 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. Two to 3 hours without your phone or laptop?? Sounds like a perfect time to wind down with your partner!
Setting aside this quiet together time will also help you both sleep better. You’ll be decreasing anxiety at the same time as you increase your feelings of relaxation and safety. Getting a full night’s sleep will help you both be more patient with each other the next day, too. If you’re prone to disagreements, getting enough sleep will help you pause before a disagreement explodes into an argument.
Bonus tip: You don’t need to sleep the entire night in the same room! Some people are very sensitive to noise and movement in the room when they’re trying to sleep, and even if they want to spend the whole night next to their partner, it can be difficult to get the rest they need. It’s no reflection on your affection for each other if you sleep in separate rooms so you can both get the sleep you need, and you can always switch who gets to bring whom breakfast in bed.
Start the Day Together
Create a morning routine where you get the house and your bodies ready for the day. Open the curtains to get plenty of morning light into your space. This not only makes your rooms brighter, but also triggers hormonal cascades in your brain that make you feel more awake, optimistic, and motivated. Plus, early morning light sets your circadian rhythm up to make you more tired at night so it’s easier to get plenty of restful sleep.
Make the bed together then have a nutritious breakfast, including an electrolyte drink for both of you in your favorite flavors. Starting the day with great nutrition and hydration sets your entire day up for success, and this morning ritual helps you support each other. Over breakfast, you can discuss what you have planned for the day. Make this no-phones time so you can both create the day you want instead of letting the chaos of the outside world creep in before you’re ready.
Make sure to incorporate a movement practice into your morning. Some people prefer gentle movement like yoga or Tai Chi, while others prefer a more vigorous workout like running or crossfit. Morning activity can keep you healthier, especially through the cold winter months, where we’re prone to sit more. Even if it’s cold out, try to do part of your movement outside. Fresh air and sunlight will help keep the winter blues away, and you can snuggle with your partner to warm up. If you don’t have a lot of space, consider shifting the room layout so you can both work out together, walk through your neighborhood, or start the day by going to a guided fitness class you both enjoy.
Make Hot Dinners Together
When the weather turns cold and winter sets in, you may find that your appetite shifts and your body craves comfort foods like chili, soup, and casseroles. It's only natural that when the days become shorter and we spend less time outdoors, we seek out foods that are both filling and warming as a way to combat the winter blues and the chill in the air.
Instead of making dinner a solo show, both of you can be in the kitchen working on different parts of the meal. One can chop and the other can sauté, vibing to some romantic music. Make some hearty stews, soups, and roasted vegetables. Nourish your bodies as you nourish your love.
You can amp up the romance by turning your living room into an indoor picnic spot. Lay out a blanket on the floor, spread out some tapas plates, and indulge in some unique hot tea.
In the winter it’s easy to rely on comfort foods and delivery meals. These are a nice treat every once in a while, but don’t slack on your meal prep habits. Spend time each week discussing what you want for your meals, then shop and spend time together in the kitchen prepping your food for the coming week. You can ensure delicious and nutritious meals for both of you, and taking the pressure off of decision later in the week means fewer arguments about what you want to eat, and who has to do the dishes.
Find Local Events
Staying healthy as a couple isn’t just about fitness and nutrition. Nurture your inner artist or your inner wanderer by finding adventures in your town that you will both enjoy. Some areas have indoor pop-up markets where you can find one of a kind items to gift each other. You can also go to a museum or conservatory to explore the newest exhibits and discuss the finer things in life. Take a painting class together, or see if your community college has dance classes both of you would enjoy. A big part of staying together is finding ways to grow together.
You can also both learn and explore new things separately, then come home to discuss your experience with your favorite person. Just because your partner learns something new or changes during your relationship doesn’t mean your partnership is in danger. Every day is a new day to learn more about the person you love and how the two of you can remain in a strong partnership in an ever-changing world.