how to beat the winter blues

How to Beat the Winter Blues

January 27, 2021

Winter is the season of feeling stuck. 

You feel me on this, right?

Last weekend, I’d about had it with feeling stuck. Nathan was working nights again and I was solo with the kids all day long, as well as most nights. I felt swamped with work and overwhelmed by how much I needed to get done. We were on day 891 of social distancing. Ok, that last part isn’t entirely true, but in winter every day feels like 3 days, especially if you’re not getting outside.

I felt in my bones a need to shake things up, even in a small way.

So as a last minute idea, I decided to throw the kids in the car and head to a local park to go for a quick walk. Miraculously, no one fought me on this. They seemed moderately excited for this spontaneous adventure.

My plan was to walk to the beach and then walk back. It’s maybe 1/2 a mile, if that and my big kids can do that easily without complaint. When we got to the beach, the kids played in the sand a bit and got messy. Just as I was about to say, “ok, time to head back,” something tugged at me and instead we started to walk down the beach. This led us to a tree that had been uprooted, its branches facing toward the water and its roots extending from the beach to a bluff. The trunk was like a bridge. The big kids started to climb up and I thought, “why not.”

I had Nettie on my back and I started walking up this trunk like a tightrope.

It was terrifying and exhilarating.

Once I made it to the top, we found a trail and followed it for awhile. 

The trail led us to a huge sand slide down to the beach.

It was quite an adventure that almost didn’t happen.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut in the winter.

It’s colder outside and the sun is in the sky for less time, making daytime shorter.

The darkness can feel oppressive and the cold can feel limiting.

That combined with the pandemic can cause you to get that stuck-in-a-rut feeling.

There are a few things I love to do to get unstuck, even in the deepest, darkest, depths of winter.

These are my top tips for how to beat the winter blues

After dinner dance parties.

These are my favorite thing to do with my kids. Everyone gets to pick their own song and we all dance enthusiastically, no matter what it is. The reason this one is so great is that it helps everyone get a little movement in before bed. Also, it’s an easy and positive way for us to connect with one another. I’m pretty sure these would work over zoom, too or solo, if you’re on your own.

Midday movement breaks.

These are intended to be 60 seconds long. Really quick and really big energy boost. I tend to do handstand leg switches, but sun salutations would work, too. Cat/cow, jumping jacks, jumping rope, or even running once around your house would work, too.

Get fancy to vacuum.

I know this sounds silly, but silly is what can break up the winter doldrums. And getting dressed up to vacuum or wash dishes or do the laundry, might make it a little more exciting. It’s worth a try, right?

Go on nighttime walks.

Truth be told, these are my favorite during the holiday season because you get the benefit of pretty lights. But nighttime walks are great in winter because you get the chance to see your neighborhood from a different perspective. Plus, being outside in the cold late will make you want to hurry back and dive under the covers with a book or someone to cuddle with. BONUS.

Do a silly photo shoot.

Kids love this but I think adults could really get into this, too. Maybe everyone wears red or everyone dresses up like their favorite character or everyone poses upside down. Whatever it is, creating visual art is fun and the cameras in our phones make it easier than ever.

Shake it out.

Not just a Taylor Swift song. Or a Florence and the Machine song, depending on your preferences. Shaking can be a great way to move energy through your body. To end the stress cycle or to shift from one feeling to another.

Try a new recipe.

If you’ve been making the same dinners every week for the past who knows how long, switch one of them out for something new. This works with breakfasts and lunches, too. But just do one a a time. Don’t do an entire week of new recipes because that might be a little overwhelming.

Flex your writing muscles.

Set a timer for 5 minutes and write. That is all. You can find prompts online easily, but one of my favorite is this one: Answer the question, “who am I today?”

Try something new or challenging.

This could be anything. Someone I follow on instagram bought her son a unicycle and decided to try it out herself. Milly got a skateboard for the holidays and I thought, “you know, what this skateboard needs is an arm balance on top of it.”
Maybe you’re thinking of learning a new language or playing an instrument or how to juggle or climbing a tall tree. No matter what it is, challenge your body and your brain with something new or out of your comfort zone.

Go on an adventure.

This could be anything from checking out a local trail you’ve never been to or taking a long trip away. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s new or a place you haven’t been to in a long time.

Start a new habit.

This might seem complex and it sort of is. It’s also fairly easy. Think of this as a small tweak. I wrote about recently creating a new nighttime routine that feels really good in this season. I’ve also just added a new small practice to my morning routine, which I’m loving.

The key to adding new habits is this:

👉🏽 Make it easy and small

👉🏽 Make it stackable into an existing habit/routing

👉🏽 Be super consistent.

👉🏽 Be connected to your why (a feeling not a goal)

You can also join me for a Beat the Winter Blues practice on my YouTube channel this Sunday. If you haven’t subscribed yet, do it now. You’ll love this one.

It’s less than 15 minutes long and a fun, playful flow to brighten your body, physically as well as energetically this winter.

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