Winter is here (I say in my “winter is coming” Game of Thrones voice). The time change has happened, which means I now want to go to bed around 7:45 pm. And, I’m ready to go into hibernation mode! Anyone else feel the same way?
Usually it takes me a couple of weeks to adjust, but this year it’s hitting hard and early! My energy levels are low, I feel a little depressed, and I’m not being my best self. I let my dog make me feel sad for most of the day yesterday! My pup’s behavior should not have that big of an impact on me! :) The winter months can be a tough time for a lot of people - physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I work from home and it’s so easy for me to become a hermit during the winter months! It’s cold, it’s dark, and I don’t have to leave the warmth of my house and blanket, so why would I? It’s something I have to really monitor to ensure I’m staying in alignment with myself & my goals and not putting everything on hold for 4 months!
Sure, I’m always up for a day full of snuggling under a blanket, drinking hot chocolate or hot toddies and watching movies all day long, but when it starts to move into three or more days of marathon couch sitting, that’s when I know I’m not being my best self.
These are some of the things that I do to stay motivated during the winter months. They help me to feel like myself & be productive during the times when I’m starting to let the winter get the best of me.
1.Keep a Routine
If you have a normal routine, try as hard as you can to keep it up! It may look a little different - if your routine is an evening walk outside, you may have to take it inside to the gym or a treadmill depending on the weather. If you don’t have a routine, make one! It will give you something to look forward to and something that you feel committed to, so you’ll be more likely to stick with it, even if it’s cold and dark! :) You can make anything a routine - a routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed - so that could be face-timing your best friend every Sunday, meditating every morning, trying a new recipe weekly, going to your favorite dive bar for karaoke night. The important part is sticking with it give you things to look forward to & to keep you in alignment with what brings you joy during the winter months.
2. Intentionally connect with your people
Your people are the ones that can pull you out if you fall into hibernation mode! Make it a point to schedule time with them! Plus the holidays are coming up and what’s better than spending time with your people during the holiday season?! Make a list of who you want to connect with during the next couple of months - are there people you’ve been wanting to reach out to but haven’t made time? Are there events in your area you want to check out? Who can you invite to go with you? Maybe you’ll meet some new people there! If you find yourself snowed in, give someone a call. Be intentional - stay connected with your people.
3. Take advantage of the sunlight
This is an easy one. When the sun is shining, get your butt outside. Take a 10 minute break, bundle up, and go outside for a quick walk. You’ll stay warm if you’re walking! :) It’s amazing what the sun can do for your mood! If you see it, get out there and enjoy it! The feeling of the warm sun on your skin (or coat) when you’re cold - there’s nothing better!
4. Make a motivation board
If you’re a visual person, this is a great option for you. You can call it whatever you want - a vision board, a dream board, a mood board - I’m going with a motivation board. A winter motivation board. If you’re new to this idea, all you need are old magazines or things you print out that you find online, glue, scissors, and a piece of poster board or a large piece of paper. We’re essentially making a collage that when you look at you feel inspired, motivated, reminded of what you’re working on and who you are. This would be a great activity to do with some friends as well (shout out to #2 on the list)! Before you get started, take some time to think about - What do I want to focus on or accomplish this winter? What represents who I am or who I want to be during this season? What will motivate me to be the best version of me? What do I need to see to keep me from falling into hibernation mode? What makes me happy? Once you take some time to reflect on those questions, dig into the magazines, pinterest, wherever you are finding images & words for your motivation board. Put them together and then hang that baby up somewhere where you can see it every day!
5. Keep track of your activities
What are you doing each day? Are you being productive? Are your choices reflecting your goals and values? Sure, some days of staying under the blankets and relaxing may be exactly what you want to do - taking time for self-care, appreciating the season, and catching up on entertainment (aka Netflix). If you find yourself doing that every day - for weeks, that’s when you want to reflect on your activities. What are you spending your days doing? Are you doing what you REALLY want to do or are you hibernating and being a hermit? Are you settling because it’s easier? You can make a list of your to-do’s or the things you want to do for the day or week. Then be sure to monitor as you check or don’t check things off. If it seems like things are taking a little longer to get done, you may want to touch base with yourself and see if you are in hibernation mode. Or, you can write down what you did & accomplished each day before you head to bed. This is a great way not only to track your activities but to reflect on your day and creates a nice routine (which takes us back to #1)! Again, if you go back and re-read the last week, what do you notice? What patterns do you see? What changes do you want to make based on what you’ve done this week? Do you feel like you’re being your best self or you’re in hibernation mode?
It may take an extra push during these winter months, but that’s ok because we’re preparing for the challenge now! Do you struggle during the winter months as well? What do you do to stay motivated? Share your tips & tricks below!