Image by josef.stuefer.
“In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer.”
It’s really dark here in Sweden right now.
The town I grew up in had 23 minutes of sunlight last month. Not 23 minutes of sunlight on a dreary December day but 23 minutes during the whole month. The rest was just cloudy, rainy and dark skies.
The weather can have quite an effect during such dreary times. I definitely am sleeping more now than a few months ago. But I also feel that the winter doesn’t wield as much power over me as it did a few years ago.
Here are five things that I have done to boost my energy and mood during the darkest months. If you live in place were the sunlight seems to have gone on vacation then maybe you can something good out of these tips too.
As Arnold says, exercise releases anxiety and tension within you. I like to lift weights a couple of time a week and the boosts of energy, testosterone and other hormones I get from lifting has a big effect. I feel stronger and more relaxed. It keeps me from getting lost in over thinking and doubts. For me, it’s probably the most important of these five factors.
2. Focus on the good stuff.
If you focus on the rain and darkness it will expand within your mind. It will feel even worse and have more power over you. There is no need to go there though. Keep your focus on your work, on your hobbies, on relaxing, on family and friends etc. Expand the good stuff inside your mind and pay little attention to the dreary things.
I have been using Paraliminals, a form of guided meditations on CDs, to boost my mood and energy for quite a while. My favourite during the last few months has been Perfect Health. I’ve been listening to that one about 2-3 times a week. It only takes 20 minutes but it always seems to give me a positive boost in mood and energy. I have also used it more intensely twice this winter when I’ve felt a cold coming on. Both times it resulted in just a sore throat for a few days compared to the full-blown cold that I usually get.
I haven’t tried more “normal” meditations but from what I have read it seems like most forms of mediation – if used consistently – will result in a better and more stable mood and higher energy levels.
4. Change your environment.
This is a bit of an odd suggestion I suppose but I think it has had a small effect on me. The basic idea that I have written about before is that your environment has a big impact on you. So you can change your environment to change yourself.
I am for instance using summer-like wallpaper for my laptop with two people swimming in a beautiful warm, blue ocean. While the weather outside the window might be bad, the weather inside my laptop is awesome. And that has a small positive emotional effect.
You can of course expand on this to make much of your environment more spring or summer-like. A few suggestions off the top of my head:
- Change the posters and the stuff you have on the walls.
- Brighten up your home and workspace with more light and redecorate with light colors.
- Use more flowers and other living things.
- Install brighter light bulbs.
And do your own brainstorm on how you can make your environment more uplifting.
5. Enjoy the remaining daylight.
Spend as much time as you can in the remaining daylight. Go for a walk or a run. Let as much sunlight as possible flow into your workspace and home.
What are your best tip for lifting yourself out of the darkness of winter?
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