Full disclosure. It’s a really cold winter day and I’m looking for ways to make it until spring. Maybe you are, too!
When I think about winter, I turn to nature. It’s a time of hibernation and dormancy. It’s a time of preparation for new growth. With that in mind, I’m reflecting on ways we can invest in ourselves and savor our days during this season.
Part of this is nurturing our bodies and focusing on our health, using a variety of the tools at our disposal.
Keep moving. Little things will help in the moment, even if you are sitting at your desk all day. Try rotating your ankles and wrists five times each direction. Feel those joints loosen up! Reverse your hunch by leaning back, pulling back your shoulders and looking at the sky. Stretch out your hands and shake them out to relax your fingers.
Think about your physical goals, considering the basics of flexibility, balance, strength and endurance. Take on bigger goals if that suits you. Training for summer activities can be motivating and enjoyable.
Another part is building our minds.
Some people travel, which is great but not always an option. You can learn and grow by exploring new places without leaving home. Maybe there’s a country you have always been interested in.
Or maybe you are curious about your past. Find out where your ancestors came from, as best you can. Then learn about those places. What’s it like there this time of year? What did people eat? Cook some dishes to get a taste of their lives.
Look into the literature, music and art. Online resources make it easy to immerse yourself in different cultures.
Even consider learning a bit of the language. Apps like Duolingo provide access to languages from all continents.
Expand your mind through writing. Do a daily free-write, setting a certain number of minutes or pages. Keep it short and simple, and don’t judge what you write. Look at fiftywordstories.com for storytelling or consider Haiku. Its 5-7-5 syllable format lends itself to any topic.
If you feel isolated, find ways to spend time around other people. Libraries, community centers and coffee shops are easy ways to get human contact.
Manage your environment to provide stimulation to all your senses. Up here in Minnesota, the winter palette is subdued. Wearing colorful clothes or having vivid colors in your home or office brings a dynamic visual energy.
Add pleasing aromas to your setting; for example, simmering spices on the stove or using essential oils. If you are not at home, be mindful of people around you who may have scent sensitivities.
Spend time with family and friends. If weather precludes getting together in person, hang out on the phone for a while. Or surprise people with an old-fashioned handwritten letter.
In the end, love the winter! Enjoy the freshness for it’ll pass soon enough. Spring is on its way!