I don’t like winter, but I like December. It’s festive and fun; twinkle lights twinkle everywhere and holiday anticipation fills the cold air. Where I live, December’s chill is new and novel. Sweaters feel good against skin that’s gone bare for too many months and the first snow is a miracle.
But then Christmas is over, the cold settles in, and spring remains two (or maybe three?) months away. The cold isn’t novel anymore. It’s oppressive. No twinkle lights brighten the dreary days.
I may not love winter, but I’ve learned to cope. Here’s how I’m getting myself ready for coping with my least favorite season.
(I’m not a doctor, and this is not medical advice. But these tips have helped me a lot.)
1. Bring the sunshine in.
I love my daylight, and I miss it this time of year. Despite knowing this, I waited too long to buy a light therapy box because I didn’t think I technically suffered from seasonal affective disorder. When I finally decided to get one anyway, I called it one of the smartest things I did that year.
I use my therapy light every morning. My mind knows it’s winter, but my body is happier with a little summer sunshine.
2. Get some fresh air.
I try to bring the sunshine in, but I get outside everyday too, if only for a quick dip into the park. I feel better when I breathe in fresh air and get myself outdoors into the actual sunshine, no matter how much it’s masked by winter clouds.
3. Get some exercise.
My doctor tells me we move less in the wintertime. This is a natural inclination, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for us. I make sure that every day I lift some weights, get on the treadmill or rower, do a yoga video. I’m happier—and sleep so much better—when I get some exercise.
4. Get some sleep.
Your body may even require more shut-eye in the winter months. (Mine does.)
5. Take your vitamins.
Vitamins are a recent addition to my winter regimen, because I used to think my healthy diet was sufficient. These days my doctor’s orders are a multivitamin, a B-complex, fish oil, and Vitamin D daily.
6. Embrace the cozy.
I desperately miss sunshine and warmth during these months. But winter does have its charms, and I’m doing my best to embrace them. I’m enjoying comfort food (stews and braises are my favorites). I’m lighting the fire, burning candles, and drinking tea. I’m curling up on the couch with a quilt and a good book.
Winter and I may not be on the best of terms, but I can manage till spring if I follow my own advice.
How do you feel about the winter months? What tips can you share for enjoying (or surviving) the season?