Winter State of Mind
The days are shorter now, but the nights are longer and you appreciate that. Beauty requires contrast, and light requires darkness for its existence.
Once winter commences in Vermont, I start to see my mood and mindset increasingly alter from a happy, cheery one, to a more quiet, subdued one. When it gets darker earlier and colder by the day, I like to convince myself just how much more easy it is to stay in, than to leave the house entirely. Staying on a snowy winter day, and cuddling up with a good book is a beautiful thing to do, but making days like those into a frequent occurrence can develop into unhealthy behaviors. Surviving 17 winters have taught me that it is crucial to stay busy during the winter, especially if you think you are prone to depression or seasonal affective disorder.
I know the word “busy” can mean a lot of different things to different people: to me, it just means having, at last, a few days of the week where I am out of my house and doing something that is either productive or an activity that I know I enjoy. Side note: It’s just as important to never compare your own versions of “business” to others- you are you, and no one knows your own capacities like yourself, so drop the comparisons, they never help, and they are never useful.
I’ve compiled a list of things that you can practice yourself to sustain a healthy mindset during these colder, darker, harsher months.
- Exercising: I like to make it a habit to visit the gym a few times a week- exercising not only releases endorphins to your brain, it also aids me in creating a structure with my days.
- Meditation: Fortunately, I go to a gym where they offer a variety of classes, one of which including a weekly meditation class. I’ve been known to use guided meditations on my own through youtube but going to a class really forces you to stick with it. Meditation has a host of amazing attributes for your mind and body, but the main reason I stick with it is because of the huge stress-relieving impact it has on my life.
- Eating Healthy: I’ve been vegan for over two years now, and navigating that kind of lifestyle change can sometimes be a lot. I find that most people just assume vegans eat salads for every meal, but the reality is, there is just as much “junk food” on the vegan market than there is in the meat and dairy industry. For the past few weeks I’ve been making green smoothies twice a day, not only is it a fun little routine for me to practice each morning, but I just feel so much better after consuming raw veggies first thing in the morning.
- Smiling at a stranger: This is a really simple one, and possibly the easiest one on this list. I find a lot of solace in smiling at a passing person on the street, there is so much love in knowing that you have just granted them with a tiny, heartfelt gift on a short, dark winter day.
Please take care of yourself this Winter, it’s too easy for a lot of people to neglect the fact that we consume much less sunlight each day that can be the direct factor or some pretty scary impacts to your body.