I’m writing this post to you on a 15 degree freezing cold day in Boston. Yikes.
I’ve lived in and around Boston my entire life, so I know the toll that the winter blues can take, it’s real and it sucks. It drains you emotionally and physically, causing general depression and laziness.
So it’s awful but why do we care about this? How does it relate to living a confident and successful life?
When you get caught in the vicious depression cycle that a long winter causes, it can cause you to make decisions you might not be happy with, thus lowering how you feel about yourself.
For instance, when it’s cold, you’re more likely to skip that workout to sit on the couch under a blanket. Or binge eat comfort foods instead of staying on your healthy diet. Or watch mindless Netflix for hours because you’re lazy and don’t feel like doing anything productive.
Now, I’m not saying that these are bad things that should never be done – in fact workouts and diets and other goals SHOULD leave space for taking time off occasionally. It’s when you start getting into the habit of blowing off your goals and well-being on a daily basis that causes the vicious low self-esteem cycle to begin.
When you stop feeling good about yourself, you are less likely to feel successful and confident, which further increases your depressed feeling and decreases any motivation you may be craving.
Pretty soon winter will be over and you will feel worse about yourself and your life than ever before. You’ll spend all spring and summer crawling back out of that hole of feeling bad about yourself, but then winter hits again and sets back all of your work and growth.
SO…how do we combat this?
We find ways to keep our ATTITUDE and MOOD boosted throughout the winter so that we can keep our energy and motivation levels UP and not let the winter take us and our goals down!
Here are 5 tips & tricks that I personally use to have the best, most fun, and most productive winters I can:
GIVE YOURSELF THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO
A BIG problem in winter is that it seems to stretch on endlessly and sucks all the hope for the future out of us.
PLAN A TRIP TO SOMEWHERE WARM – schedule a week-long vacation to somewhere tropical to get the EFF out of the cold weather for a bit. I always plan my longer vacations to be during the winter, and I always make sure I’m going somewhere warm. It really helps your mindset to have something fun to look forward to. If you can’t manage a week to somewhere warm this year, at least schedule a couple weekend trips throughout the cold months to break up the boredom of winter.
CONQUER LIMITING BELIEFS AND MAKE BIG PLANS FOR YOUR FUTURE – this helps combat winter depression thoughts and makes you excited about future possibilities. Maybe next year at this time you could be somewhere warm for 2 weeks because you made a plan to get that new higher paying job or planned to save X amount of money over the year. Maybe you could even be living permanently somewhere warmer….you never know! Stop thinking about the future as a set thing, it can be changed at any time, you just need to get over your limiting thoughts about it.
ON A MORE SHORT TERM SCALE – make a weekly date night either with your significant other, with a friend, or even with yourself. Make sure to stick to it every week, and make it something fun so that you know you have something coming up each week to look forward to.
INVEST IN SPECIALIZED WINTER SELF-CARE ITEMS
- Research a new awesome dry-skin face mask/moisturizer you’re excited to use every day that makes your skin glow
- Invest in a humidifier for your bedroom to combat that cold, dry-air stuffy nose and sore throat problem
- Take vitamin D supplements daily to keep your levels up when you can’t get it from the sun
- Get a weighted blanket (they are AWESOME)
- Buy a heated foot pad to come home to after a long cold commute home
INVEST IN SOME “JUST FOR FUN” THINGS
- Buy a delicious cocoa mix (I recommend Starbucks k-cups) to have on hand for really cold days, or cranky days. Make sure to have some Baileys nearby too ; )
- Try a hot toddy – these are amazing, especially when you’re feeling a little sick. I don’t even like whiskey but I love me a hot toddy. Recipe here.
- Buy a new winter-scented candle or two and light them every night (trust me, good smells can turn your whole day around). Balsam & Cedar by Yankee Candle is one of my faves.
- Get a mini electric fireplace to add ambience and coziness to your living space
KEEP UP WITH HEALTHY HABITS
Ok, I KNOW, this one is so hard in the winter, but it will really, really help you out.
The problem with winter is that we eat worse, and exercise less, and those both contribute to an overall depressed feeling. Combine that with winter depression from lack of warmth and sun and you are screwed.
It’s TOUGH, so it’s OK to have modified healthy habits for the winter.
Work in 10 minutes of jumping jacks, crunches, push-ups, and squats into every day. Go eat your cold weather comfort food mac n cheese but also find some good roasted veggie and chicken recipes to stay healthier and get those nutrients you need to feel energized.
UPGRADE YOUR LIVING ENVIRONMENT
Level up your home with new seasonal decorations, candles, insulating curtains, etc. Make it homey so it’s less unpleasant to be stuck inside.
If you’ve been wanting to re-organize or re-arrange any rooms, winter is a great time to do this also. Having a clean and organized environment reduces stress and can increase happiness and a feeling of calm, all of which helps to combat winter depression.
A good environment can make a HUGE difference in how you feel.
Find a good TV show to get invested in. Instead of mindless TV watching every night after work, at least find a solid series to sit down and watch, maybe with friends or your sig. other and make the time watching TV mean something.