I live in Canada, where winter descends in late October and often doesn’t let up until April. While I truly believe that we should be getting out and enjoying every single season as it comes, my enthusiasm for the cold, dark weather can really start to wear thin by February.
It’s in the depths of these grey, dreary days, with months yet to go before spring, that I can really use a little boost to get me through.
If you’ve taken your vitamin D, sat in front of your sunlight lamp til you can’t see straight, done all the outdoor activities you can stand – and you still feel blah, here are a couple of rituals you can try to beat those winter blues.
*please note that winter blues are not the same thing as seasonal depression which may require medical treatment.
Winter Blues Ritual #1: Bring Nature Indoors
The biggest thing for me in winter is missing getting out into nature, smelling the dirt, and feeling the grass under my feet. Even though I go out for a walk every day, everything’s covered in a blanket of snow and it’s just not the same.
So, how can we connect with nature in the middle of winter?
If you have houseplants, spend the day nurturing them! Wash and dust their leaves, check the soil for bugs, give them a little bit of fertilizer, or do some pruning. Experts say that caring for plants can give you a sense of purpose and help you feel less stressed.
If you don’t have any house plants there are still plenty of ways that you can enjoy nature inside.
Apparently, even just looking at photos of nature can offer the same mood-boosting benefits as real houseplants.
So, buy a bouquet of fresh flowers, watch a nature documentary, hang Eucalyptus in the shower, or try some aromatherapy with botanical plant oils.
Winter Blues Ritual #2: Make Spring Plans
One of the best ways to get through any difficult time is to visualize yourself coming through it. What are you missing the most right now? What are you going to do after winter is done?
If you plan to garden get out those seed catalogues and make a list of what you’re going to plant and where in your yard it’s going to go. Really imagine it – see yourself planting the seeds and nurturing them as they grow. Or, better yet, start some of those seedlings on a sunny windowsill so you’ll have a head start come spring. You can start your seeds 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in your area.
If you’re a camper, get on those National Park websites and book your campsite. Pull out all your gear and make sure it’s in top form for spring. You can also make a list of any additional supplies you might need to buy. Look up some new campfire recipes or hiking trails you want to hit. Write those camping dates on your calendar and cross off the days as they come nearer.
Not into outdoorsy things? Spend a day planning your summer outfits. Bring them out of your closet and arrange them for different outings. Imagine yourself wearing that sundress on a patio, sipping a cool drink. Picture your strappy sandals sitting next to your picnic blanket as you read in the park. If you’re feeling bold, you can even try on the outfits to really feel like your sunny summer self.
Visualizing what you will do in the warmer months creates anticipation and excitement that can carry you through the last dregs of winter.
Winter Blues Ritual #3: Give In To Rest
Last but not least, give in to rest. If you live in a seasonal climate you’re not meant to plow through winter with the same level of energy that you had in summer. The days are shorter, the sunlight is less intense, and most of nature is at rest.
You don’t see plants trying to grow in winter so why should you?
Embrace the natural cycle and slowness of the season by hibernating for a day (or even two).
Grab your favourite book, a hot beverage, your comfiest blankets and pillows, and cocoon yourself in bed.
Giving yourself a day to be completely lazy without guilt may be just what your body needs to reset.
What are you most excited to do after winter ends?
Drop a comment below with your favourite spring/summer activity!