Keeping Social in the Winter Months
I may be in the minority but I love when we turn the clocks back and ‘lose’ an hour of daylight. To me, this is how nature meant it to be. As the temperature drops and the days get shorter, we begin to hear Mother Nature’s calls beckoning us to slow down, cozy up and rest. I know most trainers are pushing you to keep your workouts consistent, avoid missing time in the gym and make good on those weight loss resolutions. I would disagree.
While I don’t suggest becoming a total sloth, I do recommend listening to the whispers of your intuition. It’s okay to skip the gym and hibernate a bit more. It’s really okay to take naps. I love to come home early from my day and cook soups, stews, chai, roasted vegetables and anything that will warm the house and the nourish the soul. Winter is an excellent time to read, reflect and get ready for a Spring rebirth. In order to understand where we want to go in life, we must take time to go inside and reflect. This time of year is an excellent time to begin a meditation or deep relaxation practice such as Yoga Nidra to help us tune into what really matters most to us. To gain clarity around what is holding us back and how we can best move forward.
That being said, sometimes the weather makes it a little too easy to stay inside. I for one can be so content hanging at home and nesting that I forget there is an outside world to engage in. Before I know it, I’m feeling isolated and depressed. This is the frequently experienced negative side effect of winter – seasonal affective disorder or SAD. (Appropriate right?) The key is to find balance between rest and activity. Isolation and interaction.
There is a way to remain social and mindful. Focus on the relationships that feed and nourish your soul. Try to steer clear of the people and personalities that seem to suck your energy or create drama. Be discerning with whom you spend your time with this time of year.
Don’t feel you have to accept every invitation. I know it’s difficult in this day and age when everyone is posting all the fun stuff they’re doing on social media. FOMO is high. May I suggest taking a total hiatus from social media this season? It may seem counter intuitive as we’ve been conditioned to believe social media keeps us connected. In fact it’s been proven that frequent scans of social media can actually makes us feel more isolated.
Focus on real interactions for the next few months. Grab a good buddy, bundle up and take some winter strolls. Invite a friend over to cook. Or head out to an uplifting movie. Maybe schedule a dance or yoga class together or solo. One of my favorite things to do is head out to a local coffee shop and snuggle up with a good book or my journal. While you’re still focusing on yourself, you are surrounded by the company of others so if the desire arises to spark up a conversation there’s opportunity to do so. Don’t let distance deter you from connecting with loved ones. Make a phone or facetime date with a friend as you sip cocoa or tea cuddled up in your own bed or couch.
To restore and renew depleted energy try a yin or restorative yoga practice. If you’re feeling flat out lazy, try an inspiring backbend themed yoga class. (Yoga International is a great resource for online yoga classes) If you have the time and the luxury, plan a weekend get away to a warmer climate with your partner or loved one. These are all ways to honor the calls of the season without dumping us into depression.
Above all listen to and honor yourselves this season. Do what keeps you fulfilled and happy. Nix everything – and everyone – else and you’ll be ready to spring forward into the new season, full of vitality and life.