I've lived in Wisconsin all my life. Where winter days are short and gray, and people literally hibernate. I am no stranger to the winter blues. And I realized quickly that if I wanted to remain productive and not become overcome by the funk, I needed to do better to take extra care of myself during the winter months. It's taken a while to find things that actually work for me, but I hope some of the tips below can help you beat the winter blues too.
1) Daily Affirmations. You speak to you more than anyone else, and the words you say to yourself matter. As the saying goes, 'we are our own worst critic,' it can be far too easy to be a bully to ourselves. Instead, be kind with the words you say to yourself, and begin each day by telling truths you believe. You are smart. You are beautiful. You are strong.
2) Read. Whether it's in the morning over your breakfast and coffee or at night before you go to sleep, make time to read something you enjoy. From self-help to fiction, I love to read and I cherish the moments I set aside to get lost in a good book.
3) Stay Hydrated. Dehydration is common in the winter months, and can have many negative effects on our health. So keep that glass full near your workspace to stay hydrated throughout your day.
4) Journal. Writing is very therapeutic for me. Taking the time to sort through all the busy on my mind helps me be more in tune with what I need. Once I get started writing I become more aware of frustrations or fears I didn't even know I had. We can benefit greatly from keeping a journal and declutter our minds in the winter months.
5) Exercise. Whether it's working out, taking a restful walk through the neighborhood, or choosing to have your lunch break at the nearby cafe you can walk to - implement more movement in your day. Endorphins make you happy, so the more you move the more endorphins you'll release.
6) Wake Up Early. I am not a morning person. But making myself get up a little bit earlier than I normally would feels great, and kickstarts a feeling of accomplishment that sets the whole tone for the rest of my day. When I wake up earlier, and cross a few things off the list before my day even begins, I feel like I already won the day.
7) Be Grateful. End your day by listing three things you are grateful for. Taking our mind off of what might be weighing us down or discouraging us, can help refocus us on things that matter. Karl and I share with each other each day what we're grateful for and it's a great way for us to spend time together, listen to each other, connect with each other, and end our day together.
8) Compliment a Stranger. Every friend began as a stranger. Do you like the cute boots the lady in front of you is wearing, tell her. Do you admire the way the young mom is teaching her child in the grocery store, tell her. Speak up and compliment the people you pass, positive words from strangers can sometimes go farther than with those we know and we never know the positive effect our kinds words can have on someone else.
9) Mediate. There are many benefits of mediation, and while it's something I have just started adding to my daily routine, I am loving the benefits I'm experiencing in my day. Our mind is a busy organ, and taking the time to be more aware of what fills it helps sort through some of the stress and feelings I am experiencing.
10) Love your People. Take the focus off of yourself and check in with your sister, friend, or parent. Order an extra coffee for a co-worker, or surprise your significant other with their favorite take-out for dinner. Take time to listen and love the people in your life well.