It’s a crisp winter morning, you’re wrapped beneath the warmth of your fluffy winter doona, the sky is still blanketed in darkness but you spring out of bed with the enthusiasm of a sugar fuelled child, you get dressed for your morning exercise regime belting out improvised lyrics of winter wonderland. It’s a new day and you are grateful for this beautiful new beginning….except….you’re not. The winter has seemed to have sucked the life right out of you and taken your motivation with it. You roll over, press the snooze button and when you do finally get out of bed you live your day in slow motion forcing every minute of it. But never fear these five tips may help you lift the dark cloud that has descended on your mood and assist you to beat the winter woes before they have a chance to truly set in.
1) Don’t Hibernate…Communicate!
As the months get cooler and the skies get darker earlier there is an intense craving to return to our caves, bury ourselves below mounds of blankets and not emerge again until the spring, but truth is this self imposed isolation can create more problems than it solves. Warm yourself with the company of your loved ones by scheduling regular catch up with your friends, family and partner to beat the winter blues.
2) Be a Winter Warrior Not a Winter Worrier
Time seems to slow down in the winter months, leaving more time to reflect and ruminate. This quiet time can trigger off an avalanche of negative thoughts, self criticism and regrets. One of the most effective ways to manage these thoughts is to write them out and then throw them out, better yet burn them. Not only is this a symbolic way to rid yourself of the clutter in your mind it also allows you to view your thoughts for what they are – merely thoughts, random occurrences in your brain, not the tellers of truth as they claim to be.
3) Warm Yourself with the Light of Your Own Passions
While the temptation to binge watch an entire tv series in a night while snapping off yet another square of chocolate is strong in winter, there comes a point when you need to ask yourself “Is this really fulfilling me?” Winter is the perfect time to ask “what energises me? What makes me feel alive? What activity do I lose myself in?” Then choose to nourish yourself by investing your time in something that sets your soul on fire. Tackle your lack of motivation by writing a list and committing to making a start in the next 24 hours.
4) Give Yourself the Present of Being Present
There are so many potentially enjoyable things about winter – fuzzy socks, warming tea, the sounds of the rain on the roof, the smell of smoldering wood… but you can’t enjoy any of them if your mind is busier than a coffee shop on a frosty winter morning. Give yourself the gift of enjoyment this winter by tuning in to your five senses, challenge yourself to taste every spoonful of soup, absorb the smell of the rain, feel the warmth of the heater on your skin, enjoy the whistle of the wind outside your door and watch the steam rise from your skin as you step out of the shower. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, be ALL there.
5) Let the Light in
In winter the days get shorter, the skies turn grey and it can feel as though your mood descends into darkness too, but it doesn’t have to if you let the light in. Not only does your body and brain crave the sun in winter they need it on a cellular level. Exposing your skin to the sun boosts the feel good hormone Serotonin in your brain, lifting your mood. Open your blinds, sit by a light filled window or take a brisk walk out in the daylight in to brighten your mood this winter.