How To Be Happy In Winter

Continuing my seasonal ‘how to be happy in..’ series. Today I’m focussing on how to be happy in winter.

After last weeks self sabotage post I’m feeling much more positive this week. I haven’t smoked in eight days, and I’m enjoying the extra clarity that brings. Additionally I’ve been committed to my yoga, and dietary needs, which means I’m feeling strong.

I’m definitely feeling tired because of the pre Christmas rush, extra work, school stuff, preparations, social events leave me in negative energy accounting. Trying to combat this with discipline to rest and not overcommit. It’s a perfect time to write this weeks post.

How to be happy in winter;

Stay warm. I hate being cold. It makes me feel cranky, exhausted and intensely uncomfortable. Even if your reaction isn’t that extreme I’d recommend staying prepared and staying warm. Keep your house at a comfortable temperature, and layer up. I find wearing lots of layers most comfortable as I can take some off when I’m in a building that’s warmer and then pile them on outside. Make sure you have a good hat and gloves, mine are ensuring I stay nice and snuggly.

Feel the sun on your skin. In winter sun is in shorter supply but we do have some nice bright wintery days. When the sun is out make sure you get out too. We get most of our vitamin D from sun exposure and it’s essential for healthy bones (it may be worth supplementing vitamin D this time of year anyway.) Also it makes us feel good. A nice walk in the crisp winter sun is ideal for getting your endorphins going and your spirit up.

Practise self kindness. I’ve been hearing lots about the importance of self care on social media this year. I agree, but for me self care is eating well, getting enough sleep, talking necessary medications etc. Self kindness is an extra layer of loving yourself. It’s lighting scented candles around your bath, and taking yourself out for lunch. Doing those things which we would do to show a loved one how much we care, so show yourself you care and practise self kindness often.

Stay connected. Isolation can be a problem for some of us, especially in the winter. It’s harder to motivate oneself to leave the house, and if people are in short supply in your house then that means a lot of alone time. I’m a big fan of alone time, but I’m also aware that connections are good for me. So I’d recommend finding your ideal social time/alone time ratio by experimenting, and then aim to keep that need met. If you don’t already have social connections find situations where you are likely to meet people and be bold and let other people discover how wonderful you are.

Light up the dark. It’s not a coincidence that many of our winter celebrations involve light, from fireworks to Christmas fairy lights, we need to light up the dark. Daytime darkness is depressing, winter is darker than any other time of year, so use the opportunity to be creative with light. Fairy lights can be an all year round thing, light up open fires and wood burners and cosy up around them.

In my area (and all over Europe) we have an event called window wanderland. An idea originally conceived by Bristolian Lucy Reeves Khan, who noticed the happy effect of peering in to lit up living room windows when walking outside in the dark.

The idea is a kind of art trail, where displays are created in windows using light, colour and whatever else you fancy. It’s in February so it nicely breaks up the deepest part of winter with some light. If you visit the website you will find information about organising your own window wonderland in your community.

I hope this post is useful and helps you to feel happy in winter. Next week I’ll be sharing tips for self care over the Christmas period. If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any of my posts then you can sign up for my weekly newsletter.