As much as we love our city, we have to admit that Vancouver winter is full of gloomy days. And honestly, doing whatever the hell we want is usually the best way to stay happy. But for the sake of our health, we wanted some tips that did not require a ton of effort. And God bless the folks at Aku for giving us these baby steps to a happy, healthy winter.

If you’re wondering ‘where have I heard that name,’ allow us to jog your memory. Remember the two Vancouver-based dudes on Dragons’ Den who brought along top NHL players on stage? Yes, the same dudes who received offers from four out of the five Dragons? Well, this is them!

Based on the principles of acupressure and reflexology, Aku designs products that help relieve muscle pain, stiffness, stress, anxiety and help regulate blood circulation. They ditched toxic plastic for natural metals like silver, zinc, iron, copper, and nickel spikes. That’s a hell yes in our books! 

Anyway, the Aku experts gave us this list of ‘easy and nice to incorporate’ tips to keep our winter health and mood uplifted.  No pressure (pun very much intended) though!

Keep your blood flow up

It’s common knowledge that our blood flow isn’t at its healthiest best in winter as blood vessels and arteries narrow down. One way of improving blood flow is exercise, duh, but there are other, more relaxing options too. You can get a massage on the regular, wear compression socks and use acupressure tools. We found the Aku roller to be most useful for this.  It improves blood circulation and instantly (almost) relieves sore muscles.

Wake up your endorphins

aku spike vancouver
Photos via Aku

Bio 101: Endorphins are chemicals our body produces that make us feel all nice and happy. Again, exercising, a good cardio, in particular, does a great job. If you can do that, great, but if you can’t we’ve got you covered. Listen to some music, dance a little and definitely get your hands on the Aku Mat.
A few minutes on this mat every day will make you happier, just trust us on this one! 

Squeeze in 3-min stretches a few times a day

aku spike vancouver
Photos via Aku

Every couple of hours throughout the day, get up from your work chair (couch?!) and try some stretches for 3-5 minutes. You can break it down into – head and neck, upper body and lower body. This keeps your body active and makes for a nice break from work. And if you do feel some stiffness, well you always have the Aku tools (think roller and rings).

Don’t forget about the outdoors completely

When the temperatures are dropping and the rains are increasing, the outdoors are the furthest thing from our minds. But the power of fresh air is not to be underestimated. The next time you feel worked up or burnt out, try this- step out, even if it’s just on the porch/balcony and take a few deep breaths while squeezing the Aku Ball in your palm. 5 minutes in and you are de-stressed, calm and rejuvenated. Works like a charm.

Don’t be too harsh on yourself

We know we said that everything on this list is “nice to do,” but this one thing is something you absolutely “have to do.” Do not, and we repeat, DO NOT be too harsh on yourself. Avoid overworking as much as possible, take advantage of longer nights and sleep well, and maybe indulge in some holiday comfort foods. In other words, live a little!

Those are our low-effort tips for not letting the Vancouver winter gloom get to us. Just FYI, Aku has a site-wide sale on all products on for Black Friday and it’s a friggin good deal (think stocking stuffers). Check it out here!