Winning at Winter: How to Survive and Thrive in the Colder Months

The days are shorter, the nights are longer, and your bed seems cozier. During winter, the thought of abandoning your warm, welcoming blankets can become just too much to bear. Netflix, sleep, and complete couch potato-ness seem much more welcoming than the tundra just beyond your front door, and soon you succumb to their temptations, and ultimately succumb to low productivity.

Winter can seem to drag on forever, but these days of darkness can be a little brighter if you start filling them with more than just shows and snoozing. Opportunities to get yourself motivated are within reach, regardless of what the icicles try to tell you.

Set an activity goal

Plan to accomplish at least one activity daily that forces you to exercise a little physical or mental energy. You can pick a day once a week to meet up with a friend or two outside of your home. Go for coffee, see a movie, just do something that will get you out of the house. It will give you a chance to break up the day and leave you refreshed.

Or, commit to an exercise routine. Even if you’re not about lifting heavy weights and hitting the gym six days a week, there are tons of home workouts online and apps to help you stick to a healthy routine. Getting up and moving around are great for your mental health and mood and can help you prep for daily responsibilities.

The winter months are also a great time to clean and declutter your home. Being trapped inside gives you an opportunity to organize your closet, get rid of old clothes, or even rearrange your furniture for a fresh look. Plus, a cleaner home gives you a cleaner mind. Cleaning a little every day can help prevent a monstrous mess literally and figuratively.

Rethink winter

Another way to combat the bleak winter months is to change how we think of them. Instead of looking at being stuck inside as something unpleasant, we can see it as an opportunity to be a little bit more introspective about ourselves, our faith, and the world around us. Instead of spending down time on the couch scrolling through social media or watching movies, dedicate some time each day to spend in meditation and prayer.

Get a journal. Take time to write down five-10 things you are grateful for and five-10 things you hope to accomplish either in the day or within a set time. Then, offer up prayer and thanksgiving for each. Sit with the journal and your thoughts and spend some time in reflection.

What’s one thing that gets you out in any weather?

Get cooking!

It’s easy to fall into the convenience of ordering the cheap Chinese from down the street to save you a couple bucks and time spent in the cold. However, if you plan to cook a homemade meal or even a self-made snack once a day, you’ll get moving again, and have the opportunity to create healthier options than takeout.

Cooking can be surprisingly physical. You have to get the proper ingredients, measure the right amounts, and find appliances you are going to use. When you decide to make yourself food, you’re activating your mind and your body to fuel you in the healthiest way possible. And don’t worry, there are plenty of recipes just as cheap as rice and dumplings and are actually more nutritious!

Crafting and creativity

If you have already cooked, worked out, hung out with friends, and meditated enough for the week, but still need to do something besides watching “Stranger Things” for the third time, then get crafting. Crafting can be anything from coloring to creating a new intricate centerpiece. The internet is an encyclopedia of different projects for every person and every schedule. You’ll be able to open up a creative side, allowing you to relax and maybe see the world a little more openly.

Winter doesn’t always have to be a drag. By altering your perception, setting some goals, and thinking a little outside the box, you can turn this season into a fun, fulfilling time of growth and productivity.

Originally published on January 29, 2018.

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