These long, dark days, with their limited sun and missing warmth, make us ever more mindful that the warmth and glow of the festive holiday season is behind us.
We’ve got too much cheese, chocolate, wine (pick your poison) in our guts, and we’re not sure what day it is…it’s somewhere between Christmas and New Years, but it’s not feeling festive. Or like work. If feels a lot like the winter doldrums.
Coffee isn’t the only fix-although admittedly it’s my favorite way to start. Try these tips to keep out the doldrums!!
Enjoy the light that comes. Sit outside in the daylight…even if for just a few moments every day. Have your coffee in a blanket on the porch. Open up your shades, cut back your branches and sit up close to the windows to help get your share of that precious winter light. Also, it does us well to remember the light within us at the end of the day. Bring out your soul-shine and crack a joke with your kids. Kiss your partner and let them see your light shining for them. Don’t let the winter blues snuff out your own, warm, natural light.
Eat for the season.
Put an end to the cheese, bread, cookies and candy of the holidays. Consider a cleanse. Don’t fast, but eat cleaner. Pure proteins, green leafy’s and those amazing winter root veggies are perfect for a post-holiday cleanse. Don’t forget to treat yourself to an occasional chocolate to help enhance your mood and curb anxiety. For dinner tonight, try this Hearty Winter Vegetable Stew!
Sleep with the shades up. Welcome that first light of day, and wake to the colors of the sun. The bright oranges and pinks that greet us make it hard to wish away these later sunrises. We are welcomed every morning with the promise of light. Coming back a few short minutes every day. Before you know it, we’ll be at the equinox!
Don’t leave it for your New Year’s Resolution. Start now. Welcome a 30 minute cardio-reprieve to your day. If you’re busy and can’t find the time, skip the elevator and take the stairs. Take a walking lunch. Do an office inversion. Make the time to help your body along in these long, dark days.
Turn off the holiday stations and find a new artist or album that you can’t get enough of. Wear your headphones, or just blast it at home on your Alexa!! Singing along is even better medicine. Housecleaning, cooking or toddler-duty is infinitely better while blasting “Delta”, the new Mumford and Sons Album!!
Need the beach? Take a minute and plan a beach break…
Whether it be a few hours or a flight away, try to find yourself planning a trip . The anticipation alone will make the winter more tolerable. If a winter beach trip isn’t in your budget, plan a staycation that takes you out of your routine—or maybe right into a good book—and let the planning be part of the fun.
Whether it be a local soup kitchen, your kid’s classroom, a local animal shelter or hospital, helping others always makes a difference in your overall demeanor. The difference each of us can make brings more light than one could ever imagine.
Go into nature
Come on, layer up, grab your 4-legged friend, and take a walk. Even the grayest skies look better when you’re working up a sweat in the outdoors. Remember the beginning of the season when you swore you’d hit the slopes? Grab a friend, hit the road and make your way up to enjoy some turns. After the daylight fades, the smiles and memories remain to continually kindle our internal light.
And remember to surrender. Daylight is short for a reason. We are all feeling this winter melancholy–you are not alone. Take time to retreat, to go inward and to do the work of winter. And remember that light, both nature’s and our own, is what moves us through the winter while embracing the depth and breadth of winter darkness.
“Snow was falling so much like stars filling the dark trees that one could easily imagine it’s reason for being was nothing more than prettiness” –Mary Oliver