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6 Ways to Stay Positive During the Dark and Cold Winter

6 Effective Ways to Keep the Energy and Optimism Up During the Dark and Cold Winter

“In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer.”
Albert Camus

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
Anne Bradstreet 

Up here in Sweden the winter is dark, cold and often comes with a mix of rain and snow.

And spring is still far away.

It is not easy to keep the energy and optimism up like in the bright and warm summer days.

So today I'd like to share 6 habits I use that make it a lot easier to stay positive even throughout this dark and often grey season.

1. Find one of your biggest energy sucks.

Ask yourself: What is the biggest energy suck in my life right now?

You may for example find that it is a person in your life that is very negative.

Or that the report that you have been meaning to finish for a month now is dragging you down.

Then you follow that up with asking:

What is one thing I can do about this?

Maybe you decide that you want stop hanging out with that person. Or at least spend less of the time you have in a week with him or her and more of that time with the people that give you the most energy.

Perhaps you can just set off 5 minutes today to get started again with finishing your report.

For some energy sucks there might not be a simple solution. Or a solution at all, at least at this time.

Then you may want to find one of the lesser leaks in your life that you can actually do something about.

Take a few minutes or half an hour out of your day to plug just one of these biggest leaks and you'll have more energy to spend on what truly matters to you.

2. Be grateful for the small things and the things you may sometimes take for granted.

When I'm brushing my teeth in the morning and looking out the window over the dark and rainy landscape it is easy to forget about the things I actually have.

Things like:

  • A roof over my head and a warm home.
  • Clean water.
  • Three steady meals every day.

I have found that zooming out on my perspective like this helps out a lot to snap out of any kind of victim thinking and negativity.

3. Vitamin D supplements.

For the past few winters I've been taking Vitamin D supplements each day and I've found them to give back a lot of the energy I tend to lose during a long winter.

A few people close to me are also taking them and are reporting similar positive effects in varying degrees.

4. A light-therapy lamp.

I bought a rather inexpensive light therapy lamp two years ago (I think it cost about $60) but at first I used it haphazardly and without much consistency.

This year and last year I've used a better two-step plan:

  • I put the lamp very near the couch in my workroom.
  • Each afternoon at around 3 pm I do a bit of reading (fiction, personal development books or online business blogs) for about 30-40 minutes while keeping my face close to the lamp.

I've found that this gives me more energy and it's even easier to keep the optimism up (especially during the dark evenings).

Plus, I've gotten quite a bit more reading done.

5. Exercise.

An obvious but a very effective one.

Regular exercise will give you more energy. It will help you to release inner tensions, anxiety and stress.

And so it will be easier to stay relaxed, positive and to think clearly with less overthinking and to act decisively.

6. Take action and move forward.

Few things create so much frustration, worries and anxiety as sitting on your hands and doing nothing.

So even though it might be a little extra tough to get started or to keep going with your dreams and goals during this season remind yourself that if you do you will replace those feelings and thoughts above with optimism and self-confidence.

And remember that you do not have to go forward in big or quick leaps.

The most important thing is simply that you move forward. Even if it is by just taking one small or slow step after another.

Because those steps will quickly add up over the weeks even if they may not look so impressive in themselves.

 
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{ 79 comments… add one }
  • I’d add, force yourself to go out and socialize. I think people in northern climates tend to get isolated because we want to stay warm in our cozy homes. But that sort of isolation can drag people down. Years ago I use to work Vaio support at Sony Electronics. Our longest call times were always from Alaska. That 6 months of darkness translated into chattiness on support calls.

    You have to force yourself to get out, and if you have no life then go find something in the community such as group jogging, yoga, bingo, you name it. All kinds of activities out there where newcomers are welcome with open arms.

  • Tash

    Simple but brilliant advice. Sending thanks to you and blessings to you and those who are affected by SAD and other depressive disorders.

  • Edwin Vernon

    Thanks Henrik
    Wisconsin’s cold, dark, and bleak climate epitomizes seasonal affective disorder…unless we use the tools you recommend. Certainly a good time for increased exercise, reading , and reflection on Gods blessings (bears are strong and know the value of long winter naps). Light panels with daylight bulbs (5000 K) available in 2 by 2 and 2 by 4 foot sizes are great for SAD.

  • Great advice! I believe without darkness, we cannot appreciate the light. And without cold, we cannot appreciate the heat. Everything has a good thing to offer if only we are willing to search deep. Also, we should never underestimate the power of gratitude. Thanks for writing an awesome article.

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