Winter is coming... and I am ready.
I suffer from the winter blues and typically feel trapped in darkness most days from November through February. I've tried a bunch of approaches with varying degrees of success. This year, I'm determined to not just survive but to make the most of it.
I'm going all in and applying multiple strategies.
Find something to look forward to. I typically want to hibernate in the winter, but ultimately I'm an extrovert who gains energy from people. So I'm going to fill my calendar. Winter Wednesdays will be a time to meet a friend for lunch or dinner or attend an event.
Organize. This past weekend I spent hours switching clothes and cleaning out and reorganizing my closet. Now, instead of defaulting to sweatpants or the same old outfits over and over again, I have more options. Everything looks beautiful and the new configuration sparks joy, and because I'm starting the season with a clean closet, I'm more likely to keep it clean. I also reorganized the home office, where I spend a good portion of my time. Now I will enjoy being there in the evenings, instead of wanting to crawl into bed.
Use the tools. My husband bought me a daylight therapy lamp years ago; some years I've been consistent in using it, and some I haven't. This year I got it out as soon as we turned back the clocks. It's an adjustment to have to work at this bright lamp for up to 30 minutes a day, but if it makes a difference in my mood, it's worth it.
Let go of expectations. Part of why I feel so bad in the winter is that when I get less accomplished I feel like a loser. I'm going to ease up on myself and release the expectation of constantly accomplishing. I will identify a few relatively fun projects to work on and save the really hard stuff for when I have more energy in the spring.
Change my language. What if this year I embraced the season? Instead of constantly repeating, "I hate winter" and "I suffer from the winter blues" and "I can't wait till spring," what if I said "I'm learning to like winter" and focused on all the positives? I love having fewer obligations and expectations. I love spending more time with my family. I love reading good books. I love wearing boots. (This one feels like a big stretch to me, but I'll bet it's the strategy that helps me most. It really is bananas to act miserable for a full 25% of the year!)
Got a big challenge coming up? Apply multiple strategies.