The nights are longer, it’s cold outside, the holidays are over, and summer is months away. Winter can be a challenge for many of us who long for warmth and the golden rays of sun. For me, winter in Germany feels like stepping into a dark cave and not emerging until spring. But it doesn’t have to be that way; we are in control of our perception of reality and how we choose to respond. While that is a simple strategy, it certainly isn’t always easy, is it?
Whether it is the lack of vitamin D or absence of bright, natural light, wintertime blues is a real thing for many. So, what can you do to get through those long, dark, cold days? Here are 10 suggestions (with one bonus) for you to try.
Get outside at least once each day – Not just to walk to and from your car, but for a short walk or jog. It certainly isn’t as inviting as a warm sunny day, but bundle up and get out there, even for just 10 minutes. The fresh air and exercise will do you good.
Eat healthy and stay hydrated – Good nutrition directly impacts emotional and mental wellness. If staying away from junk food is not an option (I get it, nothing like salty chips and salsa!), try adding healthy food items to your diet. How about adding avocado slices to those chips? And make sure you drink plenty of water.
Get plenty of sleep – Sleep is vital for our physical, emotional, and mental health. Not getting enough restful sleep negatively impacts EVERY area of our life. Watch for future blog posts about this very topic.
Exercise – If you don’t have a gym membership, exercise at home. YouTube has 1,000s of free exercise options. Personally, yoga is my favorite wintertime exercise.
Read a good book. - Your local library has great suggestions, and may have an in-person or virtual book club to keep you engaged.
Cook – Explore new recipes or make your traditional favorites.
Letters - Commit to writing someone a letter once a week. Not an email, but totally go old-school, put pen to paper, and send via snail mail. I guarantee it will put a smile on the face of the person receiving your letter.
Volunteer – There are many opportunities with places and agencies that would love to have your help!
Gratitude – Begin and maintain a daily gratitude practice. Name at least three things everyday you are grateful for: the peacefulness in the stillness of the winter, a warm and cozy home, animals to snuggle with, etc.
Projects – You’ve always wanted to, but don’t seem to have the time to (fill in the blank) . . . learn to paint, learn to play the guitar, learn to quilt, write that book, etc. There’s no better time than the cold winter months to follow through with that project you’ve thought about doing.
Self Care - Be gentle with yourself; it’s okay not to like something (winter), but you will get through it. Take a bubble bath, get a massage, drink a cup of tea, do things that bring you moments of joy.
Winter may never be your favorite time of year, but you don’t have to suffer through it. Like everything in life, it’s temporary. Take the time for introspection, gain a new perspective, feel a greater appreciation for the warm weather, and be prepared to enjoy the magic that unfolds when spring arrives.