Beating the winter blues
Yesterday was the shortest day of the year — June 21. Dark when you woke up. Dark very early evening too. You are not alone if you feel that you lose your mojo during winter, feeling down, tired and losing that natural zest for life you have in the summer. It’s easy to stay stuck on the couch with a case of the winter blues, so here aresome strategies to help you beat them and stay happy through the chill:
1. Start the day with purpose
A good start to the morning is key, especially when you start and finish your work day in the dark. Make a plan the night before — what do you want to achieve the next day? Get organised with your food, gym kit, etc, and start the day off positively. Get as much sunlight as you can during the day to naturally regulate your mood (even nipping out of artificial lights at lunchtime for a brisk walk round the block will help) and if you can, squeeze your exercise in and move your body in the morning to set you up for the day.
2. Be social
Summer is full of barbecues and socials galore. It’s fun, easy and pretty much social interaction on tap. In the winter, not so much, as people tend to hunker down at home. Social interaction is a powerful mood booster so make the effort to deliberately create some winter socials — a midwinter Christmas; a board games challenge; poker night. Use your imagination to create some winter traditions that connect you and your family and friends. Create some excuses for planned social interaction that don’t rely on perfect weather conditions, so you don’t repeatedly default to the couch.
3. Practise extreme self care
When we have a bit of a summer glow and are outside a lot our self-care is naturally better (being seen in a bikini also strangely motivating). Again this is something that can slip in the winter, so make a plan to keep your self care standards high. From nurturing and pampering (long bubble baths, pedicures, facials, whatever that is for you) to regular exercise. If you are finding self-motivated exercise (eg. running solo) harder as the nights draw in, join some organised group exercise like a dance class or bootcamp — all you need to do is show up and then the energy of the teacher and the class will pull you through. If you look good you feel good: and that is an instant remedy for the winter blues.
4. Attitude is everything
We get down when we fight reality. So moaning about the weather does not make the weather any better. And, newsflash, it gets wet here every winter. So, accept that’s what creates our beautiful clean green environment. It’s easy to get in a group where we can talk each other into being miserable which, although there is a sense of camaraderie to the moan-fest, really helps noone. Embrace the time and space we have for reflection at this time of year to stretch out of your comfort zone creatively, physically or intellectually.
Three final thoughts on chasing away the winter blues
- Keep it in perspective. I was reminded that our weather is really not that bad when a Canadian friend was talking about winter at home. One day it got to minus 30 and her eyelids froze shut. Froze shut! Exactly.
- Now we are past June 21 we are actually on the way back to summer.
- In my opinion no one ever needs an excuse to go shoe shopping, but we should enthusiastically embrace any that do fortuitously come our way.