As the year comes to a close and winter nears, it’s easy to start to feel a little heavier about life. The darkness and winter blues creep in earlier and earlier each evening. We start to wear black everything. More and more time is spent indoors. The lightness of summer can feel like lightyears ago because we don’t have the sipping rose alfresco relief (“come on guys – gorgeous night for happy hour!”) after work. For many, the fall can even bring with it a back-to-school-blues vibe.
Mid October, as the days shorten and new year contemplation kicks off, we can still decide to feel light, bright and lifted even as the temperatures drop.
Connect with nature (without going outside):
If a fresh fall walk isn’t an option today – tune into some Nat Geo! A little TV never hurt nobody.
My husband and I watched Wild France this week and got lost in the ponds, the greenery, the countryside and the groomed castle gardens that filled our screen. They showed this incredible footage where three baby swans were about to fly the nest and step out into world independently. The final swan lingered a while longer than the first two. The father swan had to aggressively push his final baby away from him with his beak (talk about tough love). And because of this push – he learned to fly.
It made me think, “Where could I use a loving push?”
What about you? These longer evenings work well for pontification!
I love a good Marie Kondo-style cleanup. Just last month, when I couldn’t find an outfit for an interview (because I could not see everything I own in my closet), I went on a rampage and donated two big shopping bags of stuff (including dresses with tags still attached because I never wore them). It felt so cleansing. What can you get rid of in your home? It’s instant lightness! And it impacts a lot more than your closet and kitchen cabinet space. It’s like emotional weight lifted off your shoulders, too. Can anyone say winter blues begone?
And your new closet will be seasonally structured and on point!
Lose a grudge
I’ve secretly been holding a grudge against two different people for years now. One is a former passive-aggressive, sexist boss who treated his team really poorly and screwed me out of a commission that I earned. Another is a family member who is really insincere (not to mention cheap) and who acts like a hero. *shudder*
Thinking about either of them can rile me up. So I don’t. Because forgiveness (still!) does not flow easily, I just cut them out of my mind altogether. It works well enough for me. There is no toxicity because there is, well, simply nothing. Next item!
Whenever we forgive, we instantly feel lighter. Don’t rob yourself of the amazing feeling it gives you.
I recently saw a study that revealed one hour’s more sleep a night increases your happiness as much as $60,000 raise. Yep – $60,000 smackeroos. How about that?! I believe it, too.
When I’m tired I’m a different person. Less talkative. Less engaged in every. single. task. Everything seems foggy and people seem so irritating. Do you feel me?
The good news? Darker evenings can be highly conducive to earlier bedtimes! Does anyone else remember resisting bed as a kid when it was light outside? Because everyone sleeps better in the dark!
Think for a second: Why does everyone seem to be tired all of the time? Why do we resist going to bed? It’s crazy. Get to that cozy pillow an hour earlier! Take a bath. Read. Unwind. Listen to nature sounds at night on Spotify versus scouring Insta stories. Plan your outfit and bag contents the night before work so you have a few extra minutes in bed.
There is nothing magical or mystical about getting sufficient rest. It’s all up to you. And the winter blues have way less power over you when you’ve slept for 8 hours.
Spoil yourself with something
It never fails to surprise me how stingy we can be with ourselves when we don’t have to be. So take the online course that calls to you. Treat a friend to a delicious lunch. Book a long massage and say yes to the up-sells (if they appeal to you)! When was the last time you did something nice for yourself for no reason? If you have to think about it, it’s been too long, friend. This is the most fun way to banish the winter blues!
Recently I bought a flight on a whim and felt oddly guilty about it hours later. Then I thought, WTF?!? Why do I feel the need to defend this? I make money! As a regular bargain hunter who grew up poor I can still have my money panic moments. But that’s all they are. Moments. Worry thoughts. I can replace them. And so can you.
Whenever I need to be rational, I ask myself: What about this is making me feel bad? Why am I defensive about spending money? My irrationality comes from a fear of not having enough (which is not true) and of not feeling deserving (definitely not true). Sound familiar?
Put simply – we can lighten the heck up and enjoy our hard earned dough! That’s what it’s there for. Treating ourselves to nice things is also a gorgeous sign of self-love.
Get some old to-dos done
If you feel bored or restless — before you succumb to Facebook or scrolling your contacts for someone to call, think, “What do I feel I never have time to do that I could use this time for?” Could you send some overdue thank you cards? Pick up and peruse that book that’s been sitting on your shelf since spring? Make plans to see an old friend? Connection instantly makes us happier and comes in many forms – reading, reaching out and expressing gratitude. What will make you feel better and lighter after you do it?
Just breathe… And observe
Whenever you want to dive into the present moment, here’s a great way to do it, fast. Pause for 5 seconds and simply listen to the sounds around you. I’m doing this right now and the sound I’m tuning into is the whir of the fan in my bedroom. Just pausing and listening to the repetitive current of noise fan is calming and centering. It puts me back in my body (and outta my future trippin’ mind)! It also slows your breathing. Dare I say, it’s a mini meditation? Just like that! No candles and/or Zen den required. Do this often and you might be the lightest person you know. Winter blues… what?
Pick up a fresh podcast
Consuming inspirational material on the daily makes a HUGE difference in my life, all year round. If I miss a day, I notice it. I listen to podcasts, I read loads of books, and I make it a point to go to read inspirational articles and videos. External inspiration massively feeds internal inspiration. I can’t live without it. Looking for a podcast reco? You can catch me on these two fabulous ladies shows I was on recently – we dive straight into the #realtalk – no fluff! They are my dear friends Melyssa Griffin and Farnoosh Torabi. It’ll snap you outta any winter blues in a second. I promise.
Do you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder? Do you believe it’s real? Personally, I’m OK to fall back on the clock and enjoy this creative season with a little more hibernation
What do you do to combat seasonal shifts in emotion? I love learning from you. Please share with me in the comments box below!