Friday, March 6, 2015

making it through the remains of winter

It’s become obvious that my friends are all very tired of winter and I’m right there with them. I’m ready for spring!  I bet your Facebook page looks like mine. It’s morphed over the past months, beginning with gorgeous snow photos and most recently with pleas for relief from the cold temps and the seemingly unending precipitation. Yes, it’s been a tough season here on the east coast and we’ve got a bit farther to go before the warmer season takes hold.

Here are a few suggestions to consider, ways to distract yourself, take care of yourself, and to ease our way through the remains of this crazy, tedious winter.

Be kind to yourself. It’s been a long slog, you’ve been inside more than you’d like and you may be getting a bit stir-crazy. Don’t get down on yourself and don’t start beating yourself up with the shoulds and oughts that are likely creeping into your thoughts. Pay attention to your self-talk and turn any negative thoughts around. Be as nice to yourself as you would be to a friend or loved one. Maybe write down a positive thought or two and post them on the fridge or bathroom mirror where you can see them throughout the day.

Move! Take the stairs, put on some music and dance around your livingroom, take advantage of the daylight and temperatures of late afternoon and get outside for a walk with the dog or to take a few short minutes to begin that winter yard clean-up.  Explore yoga, go bowling with friends,  find an indoor pool, stretch, bend, breathe deep. Do any little thing that will work those muscles and get your heart pumping.  A little bit of movement will pay off in a big way. It’s not only great for you physically but will have positive impact on your peace of mind, well-being and chip away at lingering anxiety.  You’re going to feel better!

Get out there and enjoy live, local music. No kidding, music is good for the soul. I know it’s cold but once you get to the venue it’s going to be nice and warm. Better yet, arrange to meet friends there. Move, dance, talk, eat, drink, sing, enjoy. It’s the perfect therapy for a cold winter night!

Indulge yourself. Allow yourself the gift of an afternoon nap. Spend some time browsing your favorite blogs, doing some crafting, calling a friend, watching a movie. Distraction and downtime are good for you and break up your usual routine in a good way. To relax is to refresh and recharge.

If you’re not doing it already, begin writing. Set aside 10 minutes a day to sit quietly and write…about anything. Put your thoughts to paper, journal your activities, make lists, find and document things that you’re grateful for. You’ll be clearing the cobwebs in your mind while at the same time stimulating your creative juices. The bonus is that one day you’ll be able to look back at your work and enjoy what you’ve done and the memories you’ve documented.

Refresh your menu! We’ve all been enjoying comfort food during these cold months.  This is a good time to try out a new soup, stew or chili recipe and there are lots of on-line resources for you to search through. Try something different: a new taste palate, a new ingredient. Wake up your senses and try something new. This is also a great time to start increasing the amount of veggies and fruits into your daily meals. We’re heading towards spring/summer months when we’ll be eating lighter so start adding these fresh foods now. Your body will thank you.

Do something nice for someone else. The simple act of doing for someone else takes you out of yourself for a while and changes your focus. You both will benefit. Better yet, make your generosity or act of kindness anonymous. I recently secretly paid for someone’s order at our local coffeeshop and they had no idea. It made me feel great and the big bonus was that the recipient in turn secretly paid for someone’s breakfast order at her next stop. Double great! She felt good about being both the receiver and giver of gifts that day. A chain of kindness was born that morning. Try it…you’ll like the feeling!  

Look back. Pull out your old family photo albums. How often do you take the time to sit down and look through those photos and relive the good-old-days? Seeing photos of your kids when they were small, photos taken while you and your spouse were dating, seeing photos of family members far away or long gone will take you away. This precious time is sure to bring a smile to your face and warm your heart.

Focus on making your home more cheerful during these cold months. Bake up some homemade bread or cookies and fill your home with soothing aroma. Turn on some music and fill your space with calming background melodies. Turn on lights, open the curtains, light some candles, put a fire in the fireplace…anything to bring some extra light inside. It’ll make all the difference.

So take heart. Warmer days are on their way and at some point you can look back at those lovely snowy photos on your Facebook page and know you made it through the tough 2014/2015 season with style, grace and creativity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We've had a CRAZY kind of winter. Sometimes it is in the high 80s and other times almost freezing.