There's plenty of things to love about Winter -- cozying up by the heater or fire, roasted goods (potatoes, marshmallows and everything in between), listening to the calming sound of the rain and channelling your inner-Russian spy with luxe long coats and boots.
Grey, cold, wet and dark days can also be trying at times. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a condition of having less energy and motivation, sleeping more, eating more (especially carbs..) and ultimately feeling depressed each year during the same season, affects 6% of the population, while another 14% of people experience a milder form of SAD, the “winter blues.” Even if you don’t fall into those categories, right about this time of year most of us can’t wait for Spring to arrive as we deal with colds and just feeling, well, cold.
So, how do we navigate this terrain? Eating a packet of Timtams or binging on online shopping might make you feel better in the moment, but can result in a deeper mood-slump later.
Winter is a season for solitude, hibernating, self-care, rest, healing and hot chocolate. How do we nurture ourselves to prepare for change? How do we prepare ourselves to welcome the new? These are the spiritual questions of winter. ‘Getting ready’ is Winter’s work. I’ve found that embracing a slower, sleepier pace can reveal and rejuvenate in ways we might not expect. Give yourself some grace, and permission to do less. Take time to take notes and prepare. Instead of chastising yourself for not getting everything done on your list, be kind to yourself. What you’re experiencing is normal and understandable for the season. In fact, it's essential.
This is where self-care comes in. I've found that treating myself kindly tends to get better results in the long run, rather than trying to work against nature by keeping up my normal pace. I made a list of ways to be kinder to myself in Winter, so if you struggle with this like I do, I hope you’ll find at least a few things that you can partake in:
Pour a cup of tea, get cozy, and sip it in silence. Put your phone on airplane mode, and just be still.
Make a Vision Board. Start to dream up what your best life looks like for you and create a visual reminder to keep you on track and in an inspired, positive frame of mind.
Read a book. Put aside the laptop and turn off the TV, and just unplug with a good old fashioned book of your choice, whether thats a romance novel, or sci-fi. What did you enjoy reading as a kid? Read that.
Make art or a craft project. Painting, drawing, knitting (yes, its cool again, but even if it wasn't, who cares!), sewing, or any type of DIY project for a few hours is so refreshing for your creativity and state of mind.
Take a nap. This is one of my favorite ways to recharge :)
Get your nails done. New nails make me feel like a new woman. A bright, springy colour might inspire, but I like to luxuriate in the dark greens, blues, plums and reds of Winter.
Take a bubble bath. It always feels like a lot of effort, and yet I always love it when I do.
Watch a movie by yourself. "The Last Unicorn" is a childhood fave that my partner wont watch with me, and even though I’ve seen it so many times it never gets old. I love the documentaries on gaia.com too for something more spiritual. Don't forget the popcorn.
Go for a walk. If the weather isn’t too wild, some fresh air will do wonders for your mood.
Clean, or de-clutter something small. Outer order equals inner calm. Tackle a shelf or a drawer, and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment afterwards. This really works.
Have a Play date. Some human interaction will boost your mood, and lift both of your spirits. Perhaps do something active together like trampolining or a salsa class. Whaaat? Yes!
Get some fresh flowers or a plant. Adding some greenery and life to your environment in the winter will do wonders.
Dance. Put on some music and groove yourself to a new mood.
I encourage you to embrace the Winter and be your own healer during this special time of the year. What are your favorite ways to give yourself some care during these Winter days? Share your ideas with us in the comments below