7 surprising ways to embrace (or at least get through) the winter

coaching coping Feb 18, 2020

Ah, February in New York. It's that time of year when the snow is the slushiest, the days are the darkest, and many of us feel cranky, tense, and cooped-up. Magical, isn't it?

Spring is just around the corner…even if that corner is still a couple months away (it'll get here, I promise!). Till then, here are some ways to invite the warm, bright liveliness of spring into your wintry days:

  • Try something new. Spring is all about rebirth and renewal – so put yourself out there! Take an art class, sign up for that Ashtanga yoga, volunteer at your kids' school. When you step out of your comfort zone (especially when it involves movement and creativity), you shift your mindset toward the positive and the possible, and add an extra "spring" in your step.
  • Move your body. The cold winter blues can be awful for our posture. We walk around hunched over, shoulders tense, contracting everything inward for warmth (and out of habit). Meanwhile, our breaths become short and shallow. Ouch! All that keeps you achy and stiff, and all but ensures your mood is lousy.

    Notice your posture – are you hunched over? Notice your breath – when was the last time you fully inhaled? Open your heart and breathe allll the way in. Use this quick, easy Moti Minute for guidance – it will help loosen those tight muscles while expanding your mindset.
  • Bring life into your surroundings—literally. Buy some fresh flowers, a new plant, or a kitchen herb like basil or mint. It'll invite some life and beauty into your day, freshen up the air you're breathing, and can even give you the benefits of aromatherapy!

These are all surefire ways to bring some spring into your winter. But what about those times when that feels like "forcing it"? Sometimes, you might want to embrace winter – because it really does have something beautiful to offer. 

Mother Nature gave us all four seasons (for those of us in northern climates) for a reason. Winter is a wonderful time to reflect, look inward, and allow the seeds we planted last spring, summer, and fall to grow. Winter is about stillness, patience, and nurturing. Even if you can't see their shoots yet, those seed are there – and now is the time to create healthy, hospitable soil for them to develop, so that when spring finally comes (and it will), they'll blossom into vibrant, colorful new life.

Here are three ways to embrace winter's gifts:

  • Bundle up! A wise person once said, "There's no bad weather, only bad clothing." The real culprit isn't single-degree temps; it's that flimsy jacket you threw on or the mittens you left at home. The right clothes allow you to enjoy the outdoors, no matter the weather, which means it's easier to get your 10,000 steps in and enjoy your favorite winter sports.

    Speaking of sports…
  • Get outside. Take your family skiing. Try out snowshoeing. Break out those old ice skates and head to Rock Center. Doing something in the cold (properly bundled, of course) gives you a burst of fresh air, stimulates those feel-good neurochemicals in your brain, and wakes up latent muscle groups. Plus, it makes you appreciate the warmth even more when you come inside.
  • Drink something hot - tea, cocoa, soup. Hot liquids are soothing to the mind and body, warming you up from the inside out. Broth-based soup is especially good, because it gives you those much-needed nutrients from all the veggies and bone broth. Here's one of my favorite recipes for healthy hot cocoa!
  • Give yourself permission to rest. Sink in the comfy warm goodness of your favorite indoor spot. Read a book by the fire, cuddle with your kids or pets, luxuriate under a weighted blanket. Rest and leisure are vital parts of our lives, and a cold winter evening is the perfect time to allow yourself to enjoy them. Make it mindful and purposeful – don't just zone out scrolling through Facebook or watching bad TV. Enjoy your time of rest in ways that are soothing and reinvigorating to YOU.

During these short days when nighttime seems to come in the mid-afternoon, make sure you take advantage of all that winter has to offer. Above all, listen to your body. Ask it what it needs: rest? Adventure? A hot Thermos of soup? I promise, it always knows the answers.

Go out, embrace the day, and shine.

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