Hey, we made it!! 😀 We’re finally here at the shortest day of the year. I always celebrate Winter Solstice because little by little, the days are lengthening from now. We’ll gradually enjoy more natural light in our days.
It takes a while for there to be a noticeable difference though, doesn’t it? January and February can be really challenging months for SAD and Winter Blues sufferers, especially when we get many dull days that make us not want to go out, rather than the crisp winter days that we’d like to step out in.
So, I thought now might be a good time to give you some tips based on my own personal experience and what I’ve learned about navigating winter.
Enjoy the beauty around you
If you’re walking along (or any other form of travelling!), with your mind racing with lots of different thoughts, then it’s easy to get into a funk.
When you can remember to do it, try switching your focus to your surroundings and take pleasure in the small details of life.
I know this might seem an odd one, but if you’re dressed in a way that the weather doesn’t affect you so much, your mood won’t be affected so much when you’re out in the elements. There’s nothing like being battered by hailstones and arriving somewhere with soaking feet to make you feel miserable, is there? So pay attention to the weather forecast and plan ahead. Invest in waterproof clothing and footwear.
I haven’t always done this, feeling like I can make my boots last longer as they are otherwise okay, apart from letting water in. It is just horrible squelching around though, and it’s not good for me, so I’ve finally learned to be kind to myself and stop doing this! On that same note, I’ve also learned to treat myself to a taxi now and then instead of battling the elements – especially when I want to arrive looking respectable, instead of like I’ve been dragged backwards through a hedge!
Change the dialogue
On a similar note, see if you can change the way you think about the weather. I walk out in the elements every day that I need to be somewhere, whatever the weather is doing (except for the odd taxi treat!). I’ve learned that my experience will often be dictated by how I’m thinking about the weather. If I think ‘urgh this is horrible, it’s so cold and wet and windy’ then I’m going to feel sorry for myself having to walk in it. So I change the dialogue and say instead ‘this is refreshing!’ or I laugh at myself when I’m getting blown to work, or having to ice-skate down the hill.
This doesn’t come naturally, obviously! My first thought often is ‘urgh!’, but I try to change it quickly. I had to do it last night. There was an icy, strong wind and I was walking along saying in my head ‘oh wow, this is crisp!’ If all else fails, I focus on how nice it will feel when I get inside, into the warmth.
Perhaps the biggest lesson that I can share with you is to be gentle with yourself. It really is tough, suffering with SAD.
This is the first year that I feel I’ve embraced winter and not fought with it so much. I think that the talk about women’s energy being cyclical at the One Woman Conference resonated with me. It gave me permission to say to myself, ‘it’s okay to hibernate more in winter and take time for myself.’
What’s interesting is I feel I’ve had more energy this winter than in the past. I’ve used it differently. Instead of pushing myself constantly to be out and socialising, running around getting stuff done, I’ve been using the time to plan. I’ve had whole weekends operating mostly from my bedroom, where it is lightest, and just doing what I fancy. That might be watching a self-development video and doing exercises, doing some work on the Little Light Room planning, catching up on messages from family and friends, or just reading for pleasure.
…A fantastic festive break, whatever you’re doing. I hope that you take some rest, spend time with those you love and be gentle with yourself.
Thanks for your support of the Little Light Room this year. See you next year!