Ah, winter! The season for skiing and hot chocolate by the fireplace. Except many of us find it easy to hibernate the season away. Depending on where you live, the frigid temperatures and lack of sunlight may cause you to feel sluggish and unmotivated. Why bother going out to meet friends for coffee or dinner when the scene outside looks like it was taken from some post-apocalyptic movie?
Below are some strategies and mental tricks that we hope will keep you feeling happy and vibrant throughout the season.
Get More Light
Either spend more time outside, perhaps walking or skiing, or use a light therapy lamp. These are most effective in the morning, used for 15 minutes to 2 hours. You can also exercise next to one, which will ease symptoms of depression and improve vitality.
Pursue Your Passion
Have you been dreaming of writing a novel? What about taking up drawing, knitting, or a musical instrument? Perhaps you’ve been meaning to improve your coding skills but never got around to it? Or you’re fascinated by the French language (or by Spanish, Japanese or Arabic) and you dream of reading Hugo and Zola in their original language. Now is the perfect time to pursue your interests. It’s colder so you are likely less social, which gives you extra hours for your passion project.
Cut Out Carbs
Eating healthy comes with many emotional and physical benefits. You’ll be tempted to snack on sweets and simple carbs like cookies and pasta, but these will only spike your insulin and make you feel more lethargic in the long run. The better option is to snack on complex carbs and healthy fats, which will carry you through winter with your well-being intact.
Fall in Love with Your Life
Do you live your life with intention or are you just going through the motions? If your life is lived on automatic, then no wonder you have fallen into a rut. The way you show up for each moment of every day is ultimately the way that your life will be lived. Determine to show up for each moment with grace, passion and integrity. Enchantment and magic are all around us, we only need to open our hearts to them. “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye,” said Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
Cut Out Facebook
Technology has brought many amazing things to us, but it’s not without its drawbacks. Connecting with friends and loved ones from around the world is great! However, social media becomes a problem when it begins to consume many hours in our day. Time that could be spent enjoying a cup of tea with a real-life friend or learning the piano is instead spent obsessing about the perfectly curated lives of our digital acquaintances on Facebook. Exert discipline and cut down or eliminate your social media time. We promise you’ll immediately feel happier.
Hit the Gym
Working out is one of the best things you can do for both your mind and body, as well as to beat the winter blues. Not only do you get the benefit of feeling and looking great, but you will also find profound confidence from taking care of yourself on a deeper level.
Borrow from the Danes
Particularly if you live in a cold country, adopt the Hygge lifestyle! This will make you celebrate everything to do with winter and look for occasions to cultivate coziness, warmth and ease. Comfy pajamas, hot chocolate by the fireplace, a favourite novel, a well-maintained plant… The list of things to enjoy is endless.
Clear Your Home and Office Spaces
Clutter has been linked to debt and weight problems, as well as depression. A messy mind will create messy surroundings. A focused and clear mind will create clean, organized surroundings filled with objects reflecting the values and personality of the owner. The reverse is also true, as spending just 10 minutes tidying your surroundings will help you feel more mental clarity and emotional satisfaction.
Journaling is an excellent way to get in touch with your emotions. One exercise that has been making the rounds on the net is The Morning Pages, first recommended by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way. In the morning, when you wake up, write down 3 to 5 pages of free-written notes. Write down whatever comes to mind. The idea isn’t to create a work of art, but to clear your head of worries and static so your creativity can freely express itself. In the midst of writing, you’ll likely find some interesting and useable ideas will pierce through.
Act As If
Are you putting your life on hold till the moment you finally reach your target weight, or find your perfect mate, or get that promotion at work? Do you make goals year after year that you never follow up on? One way of avoiding this life trap is to “act as if”. What would you feel if you did attain any one of your goals? Confidence? Love? Joy? Work on attaining these feeling now and your internal states will likely contribute to creating your external ones.
Nezha Boutamine | Staff Writer