4 Simple Tricks To Beat The Winter Blues
A queasy moan yawns from the mouths of locals in northern climates. They know what’s coming. They have been through it all before; frigid temperatures, darkness, isolation, and boredom.
Winter is a time when many people experience an occasional low mood or prolonged Seasonal Affective Disorder – depression symptoms caused by lack of light in the late fall and winter months. To get through the inevitable Jack Frost season, it’s important to recognize ways you can make it better, maybe even enjoyable. Even if you already know how to cope with the frozen tundra, here are some helpful tips to make winter less of a drag and more of a delight. Use these four simple tricks to beat the winter blues.
Simple Trick #1 – Change Your Attitude
Make the Choice to LOVE Winter
Yes, LOVE winter! As of now, I have been living in Minnesota for 34 years. That’s 34 winter seasons, 136 months of cold and snow, 4,080 days of teeth chattering, slip-on-the-ice, car-won’t-start experiences. Yet, despite the imperfect parts of winter, I have been learning to embrace it.
Because I refuse to spend another second not loving the life I have. This is why this is my #1 of the four simple tricks to beat the winter blues!
It starts with one decision; to love winter. It continues with making that decision every day until you fully believe it.
As you begin to believe that winter can be an enjoyable part of the year that you get to experience, it won’t seem so bad.
Appreciate the Blessings of Winter
Write down all your favorite winter memories to see that you really DO have good times in the winter.
Imagine how you want to greet winter every day. Whether there is a mountain of snow to shovel, ice to pick, or eyelash freezing cold to endure, greet each of these adversities with curiosity and joy.
Feel the blessing of moving your body in the snow, shoveling the driveway, playing with your kids in a snowball fight, or going for a nature walk in snowshoes.
Lean into gratitude for the cold, reminding you to stay close to your loved ones. Huddle together to stay warm and let the frosty temperatures bring you feelings of connection and affection with others to curb any feelings of isolation.
Winter is a great time to try something new. Alternatively, it could be a time to connect to activities you have not done since childhood. So, build a snowman, go sledding, have a snowball fight.
This season is full of indoor and outdoor activities that can boost any low mood. You just have to be willing to try. The best part is that many of these winter activities don’t cost you a cent! If there is something you have been dying to try but seem to find the convenient excuse of “it’s too cold” every time, now is as good as any to drop the regret and go for it!
Simple Trick #2 – Get Outside
Because it’s Magical
Winter is usually a time we lock ourselves in our homes as quickly as possible to avoid the frigid bite of the cold for fear that any hesitation would cause us to turn into an icicle.
…have you ever spent a moment outside after a snowstorm or when those beautiful, thick flakes are unhurriedly falling from the sky? The silence is deafening. It is the most glorious non-sound there is! If you can give yourself a moment to pause, breathe in the wintery fresh air, and feel the refreshing freeze nibbling your cheeks and nose, you can take in a moment of quiet bliss.
Because it’s Calm
That is just one incredible gift of winter, complete outdoor calm. I have come to see winter as a stunning spectacle of glowing beauty. If you are lucky to see a sunrise or sunset in the winter, the experience is magical. The snow capping the trees after a blizzard, the gentle drip of ice melting in the warm winter sun, or the crunch of ice breaking as you shatter the layer of frost that lay atop a mound of fresh white powder.
One of my favorite things is being the first to step on freshly fallen snow. I am not sure why. But, I do encourage you to find something as simple as this to make you smile.
Dress for the Weather
A wise soul recently said to me, “there is no bad weather, only bad outfits.” Meaning that if we dress well for it, the winter weather should not stop us from being outdoors. Layer up, invest in some good boots and gloves, and buy some snow pants!
Yes, you will look like Ralphie’s little brother from The Christmas Story, and you may not be able to get up if you fall, but hey, you will be warm!
Simple Trick #3 – Go Inward
Balance Out Activity with Stillness
Balance out the activity by syncing your energy with the season of winter. One of the top complaints I have heard about winter and said to myself, is that the days are so short! It is challenging getting up with the dark and coming home/getting done with work with the dark.
Our vitamin D gets depleted, which is usually why you start to feel restless and depressed. Physically spending more time in the dark gives you access to the emotional darkness and existential questions that live within.
Example: questioning your life purpose as you eat leftover holiday cookies in your jammies at 10 am.
Winter can be a time when you prepare for spring renewal. Look inward with purpose to choose to look at habits and patterns you repeat, often unconsciously, that no longer serve you. Winter can be a notable time to go deep into your think tank of ideas and pull out an innovative project that you want to make come to life.
The hibernation of winter allows time and space for you to soul search and define or refine your life-purpose(s).
The opportunity of self-growth is titanic (get it…iceberg) in the winter. It offers you space to reflect, contemplate, let go, rest, and nourish. Journal, create art, have a chat with a friend, yoga, and meditation are effective ways to peek inside yourself and make conscious and compassionate connection within.
Simple Trick #4 – Develop a Winter Tradition
Holiday traditions are pretty popular, but have you ever thought about having a seasonal tradition? Winter is loaded with tradition possibilities for the most unique customs. Traditions give you something to look forward to each year, and winter really needs a little help in that department since it’s disowned before it comes around.
Here are some positive suggestions
- decorate with winter decor – wreaths, twinkle lights, garland, candles, and lots of cinnamon sticks so your home smells like a Cinnabon
- celebrate the winter solstice – the day of longest night
- full moon ceremonies – recharge, reflect, reconnect
- polar plunge – because everyone should be Wim Hof
- hike a state trail – get lost in nature
- create your own winter holiday – January 29 is a great day to celebrate….ANYTHING YOU WANT
Practice Makes Progress
So here you have it, four simple and effective tricks to not hate winter.
One more thing, though…
It takes practice and consistent determination to learn any new skill or re-frame thoughts. If you don’t “love” winter after the 2022 season is done, do not get discouraged. Each year you can refine, tweak, add activities, or delete negative thoughts.
Go slow and steady instead of fast and hard. You will create more sustainable and reliable changes by taking baby steps instead of taking big leaps.
May the snow and cold warm your heart this season.
Photo by Danielle Cotter via Canva