How to Enjoy Winter Instead of Dreading It
Fight Seasonal Depression & Make Progress on Your Dreams in Winter
Summer and fall are such beloved seasons, so it’s only natural for some to dread winter each year. However, how much do you think that negative anticipation impacts one’s actual experience? When you’re so sure of something mentally and refuse to be open to the possibility that you can be proven wrong, you create a self-fulfilling prophecy. And why would we want to be right about something being difficult or unenjoyable?
Even if you hate the cold or struggle with seasonal depression, winter brings about so many things to celebrate and savor—you just have to be willing to look.
Shifting Your Perspective to Embrace Winter
When the clouds are low and gray and the atmosphere is heavy and gloomy, it can seem hard to find a reason to enjoy the day or embrace the season. However, try the daily prompt in the JMB Living Journal, “Things I am Grateful for.”
You may only be able to find one happy accident, or you might list an entire collection of things you’re grateful for. Start where you can and be sure to intentionally go throughout your day looking for at least one thing you can be grateful for.
Shifting to a gratitude mindset is a great first start to get the most results. Practicing gratitude is great for your mental health, emotional regulation and the ability to choose how we respond to stress.
Here is some inspiration on things you might be able to include on a gratitude list:
- A strong and healthy relationship with ________ (family, a friend, your job, food, yourself, etc.)
- The safety of your home
- Confidence to be yourself
- One of your talents, hobbies or unique traits
- Something you love about yourself
- Seeing a snowflake you find beautiful
- Seasonal staples of where you live (if you receive snow and don’t like it, you can find gratitude in nature’s ability to have seasons; if you live somewhere without snow, you might be grateful for that)
- Excitement of what’s to come after this season
- New upcoming opportunities in your life
Spending many days inside without the recommended amount of outdoor light and doing the same routine or having decreased activity is a catalyst for seasonal affective disorder (SAD—more popularly called seasonal depression), and feeling gratitude each day not only encourages you to recognize and celebrate the diversity of each day—even if it is small—but the experience of feeling grateful is also a mood booster.
Inspiration for Celebrating Winter
If you do live in an area that experiences the seasonal shifts of nature that you don’t enjoy, try separating the idea of inconvenience from the thing itself: if you hate scraping snow off your car, shift your focus from frustration of that to wonder of how snow transforms your surroundings and how the cycles of nature all adapt to snow, cold, temporary death and upcoming revival in spring.
This is even a potential opportunity to awaken and indulge your inner child. What were things that always made you happy in winter when you were younger, or what did you always want to do? If you loved adding a candy cane to your hot chocolate with marshmallows while you watched a specific movie, recreate it! Light a candle or sit beside a lit fireplace with your favorite blanket to include your favorite luxuries as an adult while lingering in nostalgia.
If you sometimes pass a great hill on your way to work that you’ve wanted to sled down, go do it! If you’ve always wanted to try skiing (downhill or cross country) or tubing, take a trip by yourself or go with friends/family. That’s the great thing about indulging our inner child as an adult: most of the time, we can be the ones that make it happen!
These are bigger methods for mindfulness and finding joy during winter, but it’s likely not realistic to have a positive attitude every day for the entirety of the season. That’s why it’s also important to embrace stillness.
JMB Living advocates for living in alignment with nature, and what is nature doing during winter? Resting. The hallmarks of winter foster rest and slow living. The key to enjoying winter is, instead of feeling trapped inside or like winter is just another obstacle to living in your favorite season, you need to take notes from what nature is doing and take advantage of how much slower and more simple the world is at this time.
It can feel counterintuitive to go into the new year with an intention to savor stillness when everyone else is making resolutions. But, when you live in alignment with nature, spring follows nature like a wake-up call with a burst of energy and intentions to blossom and be revived. This is why at JMB Living, we encourage women to indulge in the slowness and quiet of winter and reflect in this time: sit in quiet, contemplate, introspect and use the time to slow down and dream.
You have plenty of time in winter to identify your dreams and create action steps that you can take throughout the year to achieve them. Then, when the time is right and you feel prepared, you’ll be supported by the renewing energy of spring to follow through.
Journal Prompts for New Year Dreams
What dreams have not fully come into my life yet? What can I do this year to continue my progress? Keep in mind dreams can have timing that doesn’t align with your expectations.
- In vivid detail, what does my ideal life look like, and how do I feel in it?
- What separates my current reality from my ideal life?
- What is in my control to change?
- Do I have any limiting beliefs preventing me from bringing this into my life? What are they? List your limiting beliefs, scratch them out and replace them with a positive statement that is supportive of your dream journey instead.
- What is my soul lacking right now?
- What are my favorite things, and what are some things I want to explore?
- In one word, what do I want from this year? In more words, how can I make myself open to that?