Living in Illinois is wonderful, until the snow storms and gray skies come back into our lives each winter. This year has had its ups and downs. One day it is 45 degrees, the next it is 20 degrees. It can leave you feeling bounced around and more than a little confused.
I know that for some of us a cold, snowy, and gray day can be a little harder. Everything seems a little grayer and more depressing. It can affect how we look at our day and even situation in life, leaving us feeling a little sadder than we were before. Often in this busy season where we are welcoming a new year and trying to accomplish all of our new goals, it can be hard to look outside and see the gray weather and keep that excitement and encouragement up. Some people love winter and enjoy the cool, brisk air. But for those of us who do not, we have some tips to help you brighten your days and keep that excitement in the air.
1. Do something that You Enjoy, Alone or with Your Family
Sometimes, there are days where it is just too snowy or icy to be out, so to stay warm and safe it is wise to stay in if possible. Those days can be frustrating and make you feel antsy. Make it a self-care day! Sit with a blanket on a cozy chair with some warm tea and read a book! If that doesn’t sound like an enjoyable experience, do something that is! Maybe you like to craft, then do that! Maybe you enjoy movies, then watch one! Maybe you can have a spa day or relaxing day. Choose something that makes you feel good and happy.
If you have a family, maybe the kids are bored, or you just want to take this chance to spend some time together. Have a game night! Make some snacks, put the electronics away and get out your family’s favorite games. This could be an opportunity for your family to spend some quality time together. Tell funny jokes, stories about your lives, get to know each other a little better. Take the time to connect with your kids. Make the most of the opportunity with them.
2. Keep a Positive and Grateful Attitude
It is a fact that when the sky is cloudy and the world seems gray, our minds begin to automatically focus on the things in our life that are not necessarily the way we thought that they would be. We tend to focus on the negative things in our lives. If we keep our minds on the things that are going right or the things that make us happy, our moods start to lift, and we feel like smiling. So, focus on what you are grateful for. Whatever it is think and focus on that. You can even start a gratitude journal. You could also focus on the goals that you have created for yourself and your future. When your mind goes to the negative side of things, gently bring it back to what you are grateful for and what you are focusing on at the moment. Don’t let your focus be on the things that you are unhappy about.
3. Finish Unfinished Projects in your Home
Take the time to finish those projects that you have left unfinished. Whether it is things in the house to get fixed, or a to-do list left unfinished. Whether it is cleaning out a specific room, fixing an appliance that has been broken, getting to decorating a room that has been waiting, or many other things that you could want to get done. Sometimes these lists or projects that we know we still have to complete stay in the back of our brain. If you have a day where it is too cold to go out, then use that time productively and finish those unfinished projects. As a bonus, when a project is completed, you will feel better about yourself and you will lighten the load of things that you are carrying in your mind. You may feel more confident and excited, rather than depressed or bored.
4. Take time to Meditate, Think or Pray
Take time out of your days or once a week to sit and quiet your mind. Sit and put some calming music on or even a guided meditation for 10-15 minutes. There are many apps or videos on YouTube that you can find with these guided meditations. If you like you can choose to make this time time with God and pray and talk with Him. It is important to have a short break from the busyness to be calm for a moment.
If you don’t want to meditate, that is ok too. Take the time to think about what you want for your future, short-term and/or long-term. A person cannot accomplish his/her goals if they haven’t decided what they want to have. Make some time to sit and think about what you really want your life to look like.
Those are some tips that we have for brightening a day that may otherwise be a little more depressing. We encourage you to stay encouraged and happy during this season. Spend time with those you love and make time for yourself as well. If you feel like you need help or would like to talk things through with someone, reach out and ask. If you feel you would like some therapy, then feel free to contact us here at The Carlton Center. We would love to help you.
Here’s to a happy and warm winter season for all of us!
Written by Ann Solomon, ALMFT