Happy Falling everyone!
The air is crisp,
our moods are shifting,
It’s getting harder and harder to keep focus.
It’s about that time of the year when SAD creeps up on a lot of us and as a person who grew up in beautiful all-year-round tropical weather, I hate this time of the year. My motivation dips, my negative self talk is louder, It’s an overall negative and dark time for me and so my main priority is to make sure that I stay somewhat motivated and positive. Over the four winters that I have been in Minnesota, I have found ways to combat the low points in winter and I’m constantly working at being my best and healthy self all year round. So as I do best, I came up with a list of things I do at this time of the year to make me more motivated and present. We hear about these things all the time but I am here to tell you that they actually work, at least they do for me and you can find ways to incorporate them into your life.
1. Stay active!
This one’s a little hard, I won’t lie. The worst time to tell someone to go workout is when they feel the least motivated. I’m horrible at staying active during the winter, I mean technically isn’t this the season of hibernation? But I’m working at it this winter and in the past three weeks I have been successful. I drag my self to the gym for an hour right after class Monday, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s and if I need that extra workout I go cycling Saturday morning. This is a game changer to be honest and I feel my best self so far. I find that this boosts my confidence and helps me de-stress in major ways. 10/10 recommend this!
2. Enjoy the very little things
I love to find happiness in the most unconventional places, especially when it’s so dark around me. Happiness to me is that warm cup of coffee in the morning, the most random smile from a cute stranger, an occasional treat, an amazing workout, a small accomplishment. Anything that makes you smile throughout a dreary day, cherish that, relish it, dwell in it for a moment and remember that it’s not all dark, there are still traces of joy around you.
This is along the lines of staying active. I started practicing yoga in high school and the first time I did yoga was out of curiosity and then I fell in love. It’s such an amazing way to stay active, to do a lot of breathing exercises, and a way to find such immense clarity and calmness. I find yoga super calming on days when I am very anxious about something, and I am by no means an expert nor do I practice for hours. I just do a quick 10-15 minute sequence on Monday mornings to calm myself and I have found this super helpful. It did feel weird at first but I got used to practicing and it’s honestly the best thing. Best place to start is with Yoga with Adriene!
I’ve been made fun of of this one but there’s no better way to track your growth and how you feel than by journalling! Ive been doing this for years and one of my favorite things to do is pick up my journals from high school and read through them. It’s the most beautiful thing to see growth right in front of me and to have it with me for years to come. It calms me to see my old problems that are history now but knowing that I dealt with them makes me feel stronger. Try it! Again, it’s probably going to feel super weird at first but just go with it.
5. Positive self- affirmations
You are your biggest cheerleader and your best friend before anyone else and the things that you tell yourself count. This happens subconsciously but if you constantly tell yourself that you suck at something, you will believe it more and more each day. If you practice self affirmations every single day, be gracious to yourself, treat yourself with the same level of tenderness and respect that you would a friend, then you will strengthen the confidence you have in yourself. Slowly but surely you will be firmer in who you are as a person and you will start to believe in your self worth. A challenge: Look into the mirror each day or even as you do your yoga sequence, proclaim things: I’m smart, I’m worthy, I’m beautiful, and I can do this. Pick an affirmation and get at it! I try to do this as often as I can, usually Monday mornings before I leave the house and I walk out my door feeling stronger and confident.
6. Surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you.
This one isn’t an activity but is a practice that I find so important in my life. When I have negativity around me I tend to soak it up and let it affect my mood and this is typical of a lot of people. Now I evaluate who is in my life and whether they are uplifting me or bringing me down I try to stay away from the latter.
And that is my very short list of things that are currently keeping me sane as it gets dreary and harder to keep focus. They may not work for you and you may not have the motivation to do them, I’m not always motivated to be at the gym but anything that might make me feel better is always worth the try. Do what feels good!
What do you do to beat the winter blues? I would love to know!