Happy New Year everyone! I took a little break from the blog and a mini break off Instagram over Christmas and the New Year and I must say, it felt good!
I love social media and all of the connections and friends that I've made on it, but it's so good to sometimes take some time out, to refresh my brain and give it a bit of a rest.
I don't know about any of you guys, but I sometimes start to struggle a bit at this time of year. It often starts at around Christmas time and ebbs and flows for a few weeks in to January/February. I think, for me, it's a combination of the shorter days and lack of vitamin D, being inside more, socialising less (because everyone keeps getting ill... as I write this, I have a raging ear infection) and possibly just because I hate being really cold.
I really dislike that I feel like this during the Winter, so over the past couple of years I have made a few changes to try and help combat it. I thought I would share them with you all, as even though everyone is so different, someone might find it useful.
For me, this was the most important change that I made to my lifestyle during the winter months. I have always been an active person that loves to move, whether that's dancing, running or hiking. But, whenever the weather started to get colder, I would go into hibernation mode and just stop. I would often go three months, without even so much as a long walk.
Exercise is obviously good for you physical health, but it has always been something that helps keep my mind on track too. Without it, I get antsy and irritable and struggle to focus on tasks. I now make sure that I exercise at least three times a week - it doesn't have to be anything crazy and long, sometimes I only do it in fifteen minute bursts. I will dance, do aerobics, lift weights, anything really, as I like to vary it and keep it fun and interesting. I find my mood lifts drastically when I stay active. I also like getting outside and going for a short run, which leads me to the next point...
The gloomy weather and freezing cold temperatures don't really motivate you to get outside, but I once read the quote "there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing", or something along those lines. That changed my mindset a bit and I now make sure I wear alllll of the layers, a thick padded coat, gloves and a hat and this has really made a difference to how much I venture outside. I know it seems so obvious, but for years I would definitely underdress in the name of fashion and would walk around shivering. Not any more, I tell you.
Going on mini adventures is such a mood lifter for me. It's nice to have a change of scenery, I get a tiny bit of vitamin D and I get some exercise, even if it's just a short walk.
There's something so good about breathing in a bit of fresh air and getting my body moving. At this time of year, it also makes me appreciate the times that I am at home more.
For years, I would spend the whole Winter wishing it was Spring. I would wish it was warmer, drier, sunnier. I would constantly wish the time away and feel almost resentful that it was Winter.
However, like with people, I decided to love Winter for who/what it was. It can't help being cold and wet and dark. That's just what it is. I can't change it and wanted to try and embrace it and look for the positives, no matter how small.
So now, as this season is approaching, I try and think "ohhhh I'm looking forward to curling up under warm blankets, drinking hot chocolate and going for bracing walks!" It does help. A bit.
When you are feeling low, it's hard to be proactive.
What I do, is on the days that I have energy and more on top of it all, I write a to do list for that week. On the days I'm not really feeling it, I look at the list and choose one or two things on it to do. This often breaks me out of my cycle of moping and I find my enthusiasm gains momentum. This method doesn't always work perfectly, but it has helped a lot.
I have found that being proactive in consistently exercising, getting outside and eating well/enough, has worked wonders for me. The low, unproductive days are rare and when they do happen, it's easier to be more self aware and utilise tools to get through it.
This final point is really important. If you have found yourself at a particularly low point, tell someone. Anyone. Trying to hide how you are feeling does not work. If you are in a terribly bad place, telling someone could help you get the help that you need. On the less urgent end of the spectrum just vocalising out loud, to a friend or loved one, that you are feeling a bit unhappy or stressed can help you think more clearly about everything and properly address your feelings and how to move forward to make it better somehow.
For me, on a day I feel low or anxious, I will literally say to Dan "I'm feeling a bit unhappy and anxious today" and after a bit of back and forth chat, we will look at each other and I will say "I need to go and do some exercise". The endorphins from the exercise help give me a boost and clear my head and usually by the end of the day, or by the next day, it's all good again.
By me vocalising how I'm feeling to Dan, it's letting him know the headspace that I'm in and helping me not feel alone with my feelings. It puts how I'm feeling into words, which makes everything clear and logical and we then put a plan into action, which gives me a sense of control over the feelings.
Basically, communication is key. Talk, talk and talk some more.
Anyway, before I start rambling too much, I will stop there.
I would love to know what you all do, to get through the Winter?