Winter: the days are colder, the nights are longer, and the weather is unpredictable. It would be easy to spend December 21-March 20 cold and complaining. But instead, here are seven things I do to stay positive even though it’s winter.
1. I embrace the season
I engage in a bit of retail therapy and buy season sensitive stuff: moisturizing socks, fuzzy mittens, a bright pink sweater, hot toddies. Since it gets dark by early evening, I feel no guilt putting my pjs on as soon as I get home from work. Before or right after Christmas, my family and I drive or walk through light displays. One January, we went tubing. There are plenty of resorts that make snow for you to tube, sled, and/or ski in. I take advantage of the events unique to winter.
2. I accentuate the positive
At work, I avoid coworkers who are Debby Downers. It’s hard enough mustering positive energy during dreary winter days. Coworkers determine the quality and direction of projects, so I hang out with positive people. At home, I keep a gratitude journal and write in it every day, even if it’s just “I’m grateful for a roof over my head and that the furnace works.”
3. I exercise
As Elle Woods says, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands; they just don’t.” So to protect the safety of the people I live with, I exercise. If I have the opportunity to get outside and do it, all the better, so I can soak up some of that limited winter sun. But when it’s 15 degrees outside, my treadmill works just fine. I also lift weights to keep my triceps from waving when the cold winter wind blows. Exercise keeps my weight in check, reduces my stress and increases my energy.
4. I move forward.
I like to take the next step in the projects I’m working on. I choose to set S.M.A.R.T goals instead of New Year’s resolutions for work, family, and myself. I update my Linkedin profile and my resume. I think about spring projects. What flowers should I plant? What room decor should I update? Where should I go on vacation this year?
5. I declutter and organize
Being stuck inside is a good time to simplify. I like to clean out my closets and take stuff that I haven’t worn in a year to our local Goodwill drop-off center. I have a file cabinet where I keep bills and receipts. If they are two years old, they go in the shredder. Tax documents that are eight years old go, too. This is also a good time to go through photos on my computer and phone and delete those I don’t want to keep.
6. I practice self care
Whether it’s trying a new recipe, hobby, or online class, winter is a good time to break out of my routine and find new ways to take care of myself. With the extended periods of cold and darkness keeping me inside, I warm up with bubble baths, do-it-myself mani-pedis, Netflix binges, etc. Curling up with a blanket, my dog, a cup of coffee, a book, and Def Leppard streaming is a cure for almost any stressor.
7. I try to be around people
Having lunch with a friend, spending a Saturday afternoon with the parents, shopping with my husband, grabbing coffee with my daughter, volunteering with my networking group… all these things help me stay connected to my community. Being around people reminds me that winter is just a season. It will not last forever.
Try a few of these suggestions and before you know it, winter will be over! You’ve got this.
A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.