By Dianne Smith
As the time changes and the days get shorter, people often struggle with feeling down or like they have less energy. That often gets compounded by the number of gray days and lack of sunshine. For those of us who chose to live north it is important to explore how to enjoy winter and what are winter activities and interests. We need both indoor activities as well as outdoor activities to get fresh air and sunshine when we can and as a way of interacting with people.
How everyone enjoys winter will be different. Being with people and having interests away from home is as important as finding things to do when leaving the house is more difficult. Staying connected with friends and family and planning events and times to get together where you can enjoy the company of others is important. We are naturally a social species and need connections even when the weather makes it more difficult.
Use the season to explore new crock pot recipes or casseroles that your family can enjoy. Ask each family member what is their favorite meal and make every Sunday favorite day. Use the holidays as a time to develop rituals and create memories that children will take into their adult lives with them. How many of us have special childhood memories connected to the holidays. Enjoying the season makes the time move quickly and after the first of year our days are already getting longer. Starbucks has made millions off marketing the season with their pumpkin spice to create happy feelings.
Getting exercise is important, and whether it be inside or outside, enjoy the sports you can only do this time of year. Though it might take a bit more effort, pushing ourselves to maintain being active is part of what helps us stay positive when our inclination might be more on the negative side. Finding something we enjoy often helps, but in the end for some we might have to just force ourselves because we know it helps us feel better.
Whatever we decide, being proactive and planning helps us stay on track and power through the winter, especially if it is a time that is harder for us. Why wait until we hit that down feeling when we are saying, “I can’t do this another day?” The more we can stay ahead of it, the shorter the winter feels and the quicker we step into spring and the longer days and increased sunshine.
Dianne Smith, LMFT, is a licensed counselor who works with both children and adults. She has offices in Bonners Ferry and Sandpoint and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.