Even though it is the shortest month of the year, many of us have a hard time around now. Cold, dark days have been with us for months, the excitement of holidays has passed and there are still several weeks until spring comes to save us from the winter doldrums.
On a lighter note, February is associated with Valentine’s Day and showing those around us how much we love them. In addition, the American Heart Association recognizes February as Heart Health month and promotes heart healthy lifestyle choices to the public.
In bringing all of these connections together, lets use this month to show OURSELVES love, as much as we show others we love them. This focus can sometimes help lift our spirits through the darker days of winter.
Some suggestions about how to show yourself love and gratitude:
- Create a list of accomplishments and review it often. Often when we have the winter blues, it is easy to get focused on what we haven’t accomplished or where we feel weak. Now is a great time to remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments
- Learn something new. Try learning a new language, sport or dance. Learning is a great way to get our brain out of the winter motivation slump.
- Get some exercise. Indoor or outdoor, this can help you appreciate your body and get those exercise endorphins flowing. Grab a friend and get two for the price of one! (See number 4)
- Spend time with supportive, uplifting people. Surround yourself with people and places that have positive effects on you. Positive friends and co-workers can support each other through the winter blahs.
- Spend some time just being. Winter is a time for reflection and recovery. Remember to take social, technology and screen breaks to give yourself a break from the hectic schedules we all live.
- Do something nice for yourself. Take a bath, make yourself a wholesome, healthy lunch to take to work (see number 8) or spend your break time reading your favorite book.
- Get out in nature. Being in nature is good for our heart and our soul. Even the American Heart Association recognizes that exercise outdoors is great for heart health.
- Make yourself your favorite healthy meal. Wholesome, home cooked food can boost your mood and support the health of your entire body. Check out some great healthy winter recipes here.
- Help someone else. Volunteer work and acts of kindness and compassion help us get out of our own thoughts and are known to change our brains in healthy ways!
- Hug somebody. After all, its the month of love and hugging is a great way to show you care. Plus, it can have positive health benefits for both people, including a stronger immune system.
Taking time to appreciate yourself will allow the winter blahs to pass easier and when spring comes, you will be ready to shine!