While winter is not officially here until December 22nd, there is no denying the cold has descended in the Pacific Northwest! Rather than settling into the winter blues here’s a few tips to make your winter wonderful.
Declutter: As the gift giving season approaches, spend some time to declutter your home. Stay focused on one room at a time and try not to get sucked into the sentimental items but simply the items you no longer use. Decluttering helps boost the mood and to feel lighter, bonus if some of the items are useful enough to be regifted! A wonderful book I have heard about is The Art of Decluttering by: Marie Kondo.
Practice Gratitude: Daily, write down 3 things you are thankful for. This simple act rewires our brain to look for the positive rather than the negative. What’s so lovely about this practice is that you will start remembering the wonderful things that happen each day so you can write them down each evening. This one of my favorite practices and has truly helped me overcome negative thought patterns.
Create something, even if you don’t think it will be beautiful. Engaging the left side of the brain helps you tap into your imaginative side and connect in a new way. If you are terrified of setting out on a new art adventure, this means you really need to give it a go! Creating helps reduce stress levels, process emotional distress, explore new problem solving skills, and most of all its fun! There are many beginner painting classes as well as pottery houses where instructors help you accomplish one project at a time. Last winter I took a Bob Ross style painting class and after 4 hours had a beautiful piece of art to display at home!
Vitamin D: In the pacific northwest its no surprise that it is impossible to get the amount of sunshine our bodies need. Adding a simple vitamin supplement to daily can help boost your mood and improve your immunity. Another great source of Vitamin D are these handy Happy Lights.
Pitch in: Create that warm fuzzy feeling by lending a hand this holiday season. Find ways to help out in your community through volunteer opportunities such as the food banks, soup kitchens, SMART reader programs, shelters, fire departments, and mentor programs. I have found Volunteermatch.com a helpful site with listings for needed volunteers. If you aren’t ready to commit to an organization you can start by helping out those around you. Sharing a simple warm meal or baked good with a neighbor goes a long way.
Say No: How many times have you just wanted shred that RSVP or just say, “Nope, I won’t be able to make it”? Why do we force ourselves to go places and see people we aren’t actually interested in? Well here is your golden invitation to just say No. You deserve to be happy and if someone or something isn’t aligned with your happiness, don’t do it. In 5 years will it really matter whether you were there or not? If it will, maybe you should go, if it won’t- then maybe you shouldn’t. This idea goes for all things that don’t bring you happiness, not just events. Start taking a crucial look at what fills your life with joy, and continue saying Yes to those opportunities. When you lean in to what truly makes you happy the negative slowly starts to etch away. Bottom line, say No when you truly do not want to say Yes, it’s that simple.