The Inertia of Winter

by Catie Gosselin

The holidays are over. The days are shorter, and for the most part, the weather is pretty abysmal. Welcome to winter!

Prior to the onset of the holiday season, my friend Julie and I commiserated over the amount of preparation we faced. The trappings of celebration left very little open space in our homes, physically or emotionally. Julie remarked 'how heavy' the holidays feel and how evident this becomes once everything was cleared away.
Winter doldrums can also feel 'heavy'. Our energy and enthusiasm levels decline. Many of us punish ourselves for overindulgence during the holidays. Many are just plain bored. After the holidays, really, what is there to look forward to besides months of cold and gray?

Like packing away holiday trappings, getting rid of emotional 'stuff', unhealthy habits, etc., can bring about a feeling of lightness; the perfect solution to the doldrums. The beginning of a new year is a great opportunity for a fresh start.

Around this time of year, our minds, bodies and spirits could use some serious recharging. When one area is lagging, it tends to bring the other two with it. Here are a few ideas to get started, some may work for you, some may have nothing to do with your life. Take what you need and leave the rest!

Tune Your Mind
-Take a class - check your library for listings of classes or seminars available locally.
-Read - make a weekly commitment to yourself to read; books, magazines, newspapers, whatever interests you
-Get involved in local politics - find out who is in what office and what issues face your town.
-Volunteer in local schools or library - share something you enjoy
-Plan and carry out a household project - figure out a floor plan or budget for for anything from rearranging to repapering your favorite room. get rid of the clutter and give yourself space to enjoy.

Tune Your Body
-Water - the average adult body requires eight 8oz glasses each day, not soft drinks, juice or coffee. if this sounds as exciting as, well, water, liven it up with lemon or lime slices or drink seltzer.
Sugar intake - this is a tough one, especially after the holidays. sugary foods make your energy level take a nose dive. if you tend to snack, replace sugary foods with fruits, pretzels, bagels, etc
Exercise - find something you enjoy; walking, yoga, aerobics, skating, anything to get moving. do something you like, you'll be more likely to keep it up.
Sun - whenever weather permits, get out in the sun. (Note - 10 - 20% of people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, if you suspect this may be the case for you, consult with your physician regarding light therapy)

Tune Your Spirit
-Random acts of kindness - overpay your grocery bill by $1 and tell the cashier to apply it to the next person in line, volunteer at your local library or senior center, donate clothing or food to local shelters, smile at strangers
-Practice your faith - whether you practice an organized religion or not, find ways to explore your spirituality. use the winter as a time of introspection and renewal
Start a journal
Make meditation and prayer part of your daily routine
Put your money where your heart is - set up a savings account for charitable donations. as it grows, use portions to fund non-profits.

About the author:
Catie Gosselin's is a supporting, empowering community for all women. Catie is the homeschooling mother of two, a wife of 12 years, and she lives in Massachusetts.