Dear Style & Substance:
We recently set the clocks back and I can already feel the darkness closing in on me. I am less likely to get anything done after work, and really have a hard time getting up in the morning. The thought of another North Country winter is pulling me down and I dread the next four months!
We hear you!! And if you somehow are lucky enough to evade this on a particular day, then there is certainly someone nearby who is vehemently complaining about it, or just plain lackluster and blue. People living in northern climates are very susceptible to SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder. Long, dark nights can drain us of energy and zest. The dark nights are a given, how you respond is up to you! A sense of adventure, a hale and hearty wardrobe, and a sense of humor can get you through the darkest hours of winter.
Often times we in the North Country forget that winter can be a time of great fun and opportunity, the joy comes from being well prepared. So, get your bag of blue busters armed and ready…preparedness is everything! Here are some suggestions of what to “pack” on your journey to Spring:
The darkness and cold draw us toward hot chocolates, cozy fires, many piled high quilts, and more quiet (and thus sedentary) times. The North Country offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation: Downhill, X-Country, and Back Country Skiing, Snowshoeing, Ice Skating, Sledding, the list goes on….The key here is to invest some time and mental tenacity in keeping or getting your body moving every day; outside in the fresh air being best, or get to the gym, a yoga or zumba class…anything movement oriented will get and keep your attitude in a positive place. Remember the simple rule of “oh, what five minutes will do!”
Winter seems to grow longer after the holiday season. January offers a natural time to make positive changes. Make plans to host a sledding or skating party with chili and hot chocolate or learn to x-country ski at an area ski center. Talk to friends and family about how you are feeling and brainstorm some fun ideas. Have a full moon party with some daring outdoor fun! Our intention here is to have things to look forward to!
Hearty outdoor gear is a necessity to winter happiness. Essential pieces: down coat, lined boots, a scarf, hat, mittens, and gloves for driving. A white coat or reflective outerwear help out when taking the dog out, as being safe in the darkness is important! Keep your fuel bills down by wearing cozier clothes and a down vest around the house. Overdress for warmth and comfort every day and you will find that the “cold complaints” are all but eliminated from your daily mantra.
Looking in the mirror in the bleak of winter, can tend to put a damper on our outlook as well. Gone is the lightly sun-kissed skin of summer, so turn to tinted moisturizers and a little blush. Wear some color around your face, especially with all of the black we tend to turn to during the dark months!
Even when that “cold idea” sounds just awful…just say “yes”! Surprise yourself and others by trying new things, and finding out that you should have said “yes” many years ago.
One inevitably hears, at some point during a North Country winter, “Cold enough for you?” Decide to answer with a sense of humor and a positive attitude – possible responses:
No, I really enjoy those below zero days when I can wrap up in a down blanket and watch bad movies. Not yet, I am a big fan of absolute zero. (That one will make people go back and study high school science!) Yes, today is absolutely cold enough for me, my eyelashes are frozen together!
Acknowledging the difficulties of winter and then being ready to address them, will soften the blow of winter and help you enjoy a long season.
A S K
Style & Substance:
Michele Armani and Sally Meisenheimer
creative life coaching solutions
Email your questions or request a life coaching appointment to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information: visit our website at yourstyleandsubstance.com.