Motivations for Change: Beating the Winter Blues – Part 1
As winter approaches, it is that time of year when the days get shorter and sunlight is in shorter supply.
Many of us may even get up in the dark and return home from work in the dark.
Moving can feel more of a challenge, like an uphill battle, and the desire to give in often wins.
However, if you remember to practice these essential care skills, you will beat the blues before they beat you.
1. Get moving
Any type of movement will help you to shift out of that static state, it can be gentle yoga and stretching, it can be a walk, anywhere, anytime will do, even in the corridors of your condo building if that’s all you can muster up, 10 minutes around the block, any block will do, take 10 minutes before you start your grocery shopping to walk around the block – simple solutions, don’t make it difficult and always have a handy pair of trainers in the car so there is no excuse!
2. Shift your mindset
Look at how much time you are spending in this static state and what is it doing to your self-worth. If you are spending all your time ruminating, or feeling guilty, or wishing things were going differently, you are affirming your low self-worth to yourself. Affirmations are both negative and positive. We often forget that. So, it’s turn to turn your negative thoughts on their head, and reframe, reframe, reframe. When you have a thought like, “My life is so hard”, flip it on it’s head and say, “My life is worth it!” even if you don’t fully believe it at first, keep reaffirming this and eventually, the light will come on.
3. Have an activity or hobby
This one is so important. How many of us do things we truly enjoy that are solely for US, and not for the benefit of others. An activity is really about creating connection, connection with other people. We need to be connected, loneliness is one of the sole reasons for depression and anxiety in the modern world. An activity forces you to join in with other people, contribute your ideas, be creative, and let your inner child shine. So, if you don’t have one, find one now! And by the way, working out is not an activity unless you are sharing this time with someone else.
Now, before you slump and want to turn away, hang in there for just a moment. Journaling does not mean creative or expressive writing, journaling in my practice is writing in any form whatsoever. It can be scribbling, doodling, ranting, in point form, in poetic form – again, anything you like. The point is that journaling is very liberating and uplifting for the burdened mind. It is so easy to lose perspective when we are fighting the blues, and so we become stuck. Journaling helps to unload our thoughts onto paper, thereby freeing the mind and the body.
5. Start a mindfulness routine before bedtime
In simplified terms, what this means is making subtle changes to your current lifestyle. Changes are along these lines
- Turn off any and all devices with a screen: tv, computer, ipad, smart phone at least half an hour before bedtime.
- Read a book, or practice some breathing or muscle relaxation techniques (link here to handout).
- Listen to a guided visualization to gently fall asleep to.
- Avoid any loud or deep conversations at night.
- Practice 3 statements of gratitude as you fall asleep.
Practicing one or all of the above will ensure a good night’s sleep. The most effective sleep our mind and bodies need is what is called Deep Sleep. If we don’t get enough deep sleep, then we are cognitively impaired during the day and a magnet for negative, bluesy thoughts.
With peace and love on your journey to self.
Part 2 to follow….