Winter is the time when things stop growing and energy gets drawn into the earth. This can have the effect of making you feel tired and withdrawn. You may feel the need to sleep more, find yourself having less energy and probably wanting to retreat inside away from the cold. Although winter can be difficult for many due to short days and long drawn out dark nights it can also be a good time to re-connect with yourself and use the time inside to reflect on where you are in your life and to think about what you want for the year ahead. It can be a great time to meditate or to learn to as there is less distraction in the winter months and meditation with candle light can be a wonderful way of calming any stress or tension.
Winter Solstice on December 21st was the official beginning of winter and the shortest day of the year which means that from that day onwards, nights get lighter and days get longer albeit very gradually!
The New Year can be a great time for reflection on the past year – are you in the place you would like to be both physically and emotionally? What did you do well in 2012 and what could have been done differently on reflection? New Year’s resolutions feature highly in most of our plans for change, however if you’re planning on making resolutions it may help to spend time thinking about exactly what you’d like to change in your life and plan to take small steps to ensure that you are able to achieve the goals that you set for yourself. For example if you plan to stop smoking but have failed in the past, what could you do differently this time ie. use patches, join a support group etc. Think about using the SMART method of goal setting (see my Christmas article for more information).
The weeks after Christmas and New Year can be a time when you may feel quite low as the anti-climax of the festive season sets in. Finances are low due to the big spend in December and the weather can be grey and cold. Brighten up your life by bringing in colour into your surroundings; treat yourself to some new additions to your wardrobe or home – you don’t have to spend lots, visit charity shops or go to the local car boot sale which can harbour hidden gems just waiting to be bartered for. If your outer world is bright and colourful your inner world follows. Ensure that you nourish yourself with warm, healthy seasonal food as it is widely known that food affects mood.
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean that you can’t get out and make the most of your surroundings. Winter is a good time to catch up with friends, go to museums or galleries or take up a new hobby that will take you outside eg. photography, walking etc. Being cooped up all day is not good for your mental health; as humans we are built to be social and to be out in the world whatever the weather so wrap up warm and get out there!
Winter can be a challenging time for many of us but it doesn’t have to be unbearable, use these tips to help yourself have a memorable and reflective season and if you decide that it’s time to invest in a psychological cleanse in the form of committing to attending counselling/psycotherapy get in touch and we can discuss how you can start working towards obtaining those goals that you have set for yourself.
All the best
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