Winter is upon us, and I can’t help sparing a thought for people living in areas where freezing cold temperatures, falling snow and strong winds are par for the course. Many people have already spent months in isolation due to the pandemic. For some, solitude through winter will only be an extension of social distancing. The thing called seasonal depression will likely affect more people this year than past winters.
A psychiatry and neurology professor explained the meaning of awe in “professory” terms, which boil down to encountering something so awesome that we cannot immediately understand it. Even the coldest winter day has something awe-inspiring and trying to find it will cause less preoccupation with ourselves. Furthermore, it is only natural to want to share the awesomeness with others. Fortunately, COVID-19 taught us that technology can help us share the awe with our friends and family even when we’re not physically together.
One thing is clear — a positive mindset alone would not get us through winter unscathed. Here are some suggestions from people who have managed to get through many icy winters.
Get the winter gear
Prepare for spending at least some time outdoors else; how will you find the awe? You’ll need a coat, hat, boots, gloves and warm pants. If you have children, make sure they have the same gear so you can spend time outdoors as a family. Remember to dry it all afterward to have the gear ready for your next outing.
You have to learn to love winter
This might sound cold and heartless (pun intended), but you’ll have to learn to love winter. You will only reinforce your misery if you spend your time thinking of how you wish it were summer and how much you hate winter. Change the language of your inner thoughts, and focus on finding fun activities limited to the cold months. Think snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking or hiking, even if you only go along to cheer on your children.
On the brighter days, you could find a cozy corner on the patio where you can bundle up and sip on coffee or hot chocolate.
Make your home cozy
Making the interior of your house cozy and inviting will make you want to be there. I imagine a fireplace, reading lamps, soft chairs or a couch and several blankets. Don’t forget the cozy slippers. Furthermore, several good books or movies and a bowl of popcorn. To complete the cozy interior, I see the inside of a window framed with a string of twinkling lights.
You must balance being cozy and activity
To make sure you are ready for summer, don’t spend all your time bundled-up inside. Find ways to stay active. Joining friends to go walking or jogging can be fun and healthy. Go to the gym or join a sports team. It is always easier to persevere when there are friends to hold you accountable. Most importantly, all the hard work will prove worthwhile come summer.
Bring your garden inside
Being surrounded by lush, green plants can boost your mood. Arrange indoor plants near windows where they can get enough light. Gardening is therapeutic, and while you take care of them, they’ll take care of you.