At just about this time every year I get to a point where winter feels neverending. Gone are the days when a chill in the air is described as refreshing. Snow, once novel and pretty and dare I even say even fun, now elicits a groan when it makes yet another appearance. “But it’s so cold outside,” becomes the default answer to socializing after 7 pm.
You know how it is.
You get slow. You get sluggish. Somehow it becomes so much harder to come up with reasons why you should be productive and get up early and throw off those (warm and snuggly) covers with gusto every morning.
You know what’s happening, right?
The winter blues are taking full effect.
Winter feels like a particularly long season for us northerners. When Instagram is filling up with cherry blossoms and stores are bringing in their spring lines, when the concepts of warm weather and exposed ankles don’t even seem like remote possibilities, and when you don’t have enough money or time to fly away to somewhere warm, it’s easy to fall into the winter blues.
I don’t know about you, but after a season of grief, indecision, and feeling lost in limbo, I’m ready for spring to show its pretty face. Until it does, here are three things I do (and you can do too!) to beat the winter blues when you can’t just pick up and travel.
1. LEARN A NEW SKILL OR DEVELOP A NEW HOBBY
This blog actually originated as a winter hobby a couple of years ago (read my first post). Over the past few winters I’ve made it a point to grasp a new skill so that my brain doesn’t become jelly after binge-watching every series I can find on HGTV (what can I say – I feel the urge to decorate my nonexistent home!). Spanish lessons, SEO techniques, photography classes, and business courses have kept me busy over the past few years. Winter is the perfect time to master something new, especially if it’s from the comfort of your own home, or try out a new hobby that’s piqued your curiosity.
2. PLAN A TRIP FOR LATER IN THE YEAR
What does a traveller do when they’re not travelling? Plan for future trips, of course! I am a firm believer that everyone, yes everyone, can travel. It doesn’t have to be international, it doesn’t have to be transnational, and you don’t have to do it with another person. Solo travel isn’t nearly as intimidating as people make it out to be. On those nights when all you want to do is stay curled up on your couch, put those Pinterest skills to good use and start researching somewhere that you’ve never been before. There’s always somewhere new to explore and new adventures to be had! Here are a few ideas to get you started.
3. START A GRATITUDE JOURNAL / GOOD THINGS JAR
This is a technique I picked up after reading The Happiness Project when I was in Utila, Honduras last year. Admittedly, I’m not as regular as I used to be but when I began this practice I’d wake up each morning and before I started my day, before I turned on my computer, before anything, I’d write out three things for which I was grateful. These days I no longer write out a list but I still take a few minutes every morning to acknowledge three good things in my life. When I move to Tennessee I’m going to start a good things jar which is basically the same concept but allows me the opportunity to read through my lists at the end of the year. Have you thought about a good things jar or gratitude journal? Seriously, you should try it. Positivity begets positivity.
Do you also struggle with staying happy despite the long-term effects of blah weather? What are some things you do to stay on the bright side of life when the winter blues start to bring you down?
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