Thing is, there's work to do. And dreams to make come true. And amazing life to live. So I can't just hibernate for a season (which in my city is, let's face it, at least four months long).
I have a feeling there might be a few other people in the same boat as me, so I wanted to share with you some of the ways I manage the Winter Blues, and make sure that my To-Do list doesn't end up on ice.
During summer I happily get up and wander into my office with my breakfast and work for about an hour before getting ready to leave the house. But in winter I do it the other way around. I find it's a LOT less daunting to jump out of bed and into a hot shower than into a freezing cold office!
Basically, my most successful Winter Momentum Method is this - GET UP STRAIGHT AWAY!
My body doesn't need time to realise how cold outside-of-the-covers is, nor how snuggly-wuggly inside-of-the-covers is! That is not a helpful discovery! Some of the ways I support this method are:
- No snooze button! On iPhone you can deselect the "snooze" function ... knowing that I have no back-up makes me pay more attention to the alarm
- Custom alarm - a fun song, something that will put a smile on my face and ideally make me want to dance around. (NOTE: opening theme of Lion King is a terrible choice, trust me, that's from experience!)
- Put on the light. I looooove waking up with the sun. But these days I need to be up around 90 minutes before the sun ... so I fake it. Flick on the light and it's much harder to snooze!
My brain tends to believe that workable/usable hours are only those when it’s light. So in winter, I can count on less than half as many hours to work in the evenings. Not very helpful. My workaround for that is to turn on lights and the heater and light candles BEFORE it’s dark so that the transition isn’t as noticeable – that means I can keep working until about 7.30 which is more my normal time.
My other coping mechanisms for winter include:
- Getting outside - fresh air and sunshine. I will walk Suki or get into the garden, even if it's not for very long. It clears my head and gets the Vitamin D fix I need.
- Eat healthy - it is super easy to fall into comfort food traps in Winter. But that in turn kills your energy, so make sure you are making healthy choices!
- Stay hydrated - again, easy to drop the ball when it comes to water consumption in winter. But your body still needs it, and with the artificial heating you'll be exposed to, it's just as important as in summer.
- Open the house up - even if it's only for an hour. Again, with the heater on all the time your space can get super stuffy. Let the air into your home regularly to keep it fresh and healthy.
- Keep moving. An hour of aerobic activity has the same benefits of 2.5 hours of light treatment as it raised your serotonin levels the same amount. Maintaining your serotonin levels will help with energy, motivation and also assist in keeping unhealthy food cravings at bay.
- Dress the part - if you're cold, put on more clothes! My grandma used to say "there is no fashion in Winter". That's soooo not true; winter fashion is amazing. Enjoy it!
- Colour! Duh, of course this is on my list. When all is grey outside bring the colour into your outfit and home!
- Vision board - keep your eyes on the prize. Always write your goals down, making them specific and measurable, and track progress so you can reward yourself for the results
Lastly, the biggest lesson I've learned from three winters in an old, cold, draughty house with rotten heating?
Do whatever it takes.
My house has one gas heater in the living room. And that's IT. So I'm writing this right now in my living room. Yup, I can see my breath in my rainbow office, so it's closed down for the moment, and my computer is set up on the dining table. Because that's what it takes to keep my momentum.
And my dreams are freaking worth it! Guess what - so are yours. So put on another hoodie and a thicker pair of socks and let's ROCK IT OUT THIS WINTER!