It’s the friend you long to see in winter. The warmth of the sun and exposure to fresh air by way of outdoor activities are few and far between, and while there are cold weather exercise possibilities, we are generally quite limited once the weather drops below a certain temperature. Enter stress, anxiety, and sometimes, seasonal affective disorder.
So how can you reduce stress in your home during the winter months?
1. Take a break
And I mean a real break. Do something that will truly give you joy. If that something is going to a coffee shop by yourself and reading a book or volunteering at a local non-profit, make sure this “activity” is purely satisfying.
2. Grow something
Being removed from the outdoors for several months can start to become depressing. Remind yourself that warmer days are on the horizon and take time to nurture and cultivate some green. This indoor activity can be just as rewarding as digging around in the dirt. “Gardening gives you a sense of accomplishment,” Kristen Brown, author of The Happy Hour Effect: 12 Secrets to Minimize Stress and Maximize Life, told Psychology Today. “It can lead to great satisfaction when those first blooms of spring emerge from the fall-planted bulbs you weren’t sure would grow or when the first ripe tomato is ready for picking.”
Planting seeds and helping them germinate with love and a little bit of radiant heat from a GroMat from companies like Cozy Products will distract your mind from the stress of the holidays and the current inability of getting outdoors.
3. Mix up your exercise regimen
During warm weather months, the variety of opportunities for outdoor fun is endless. It’s time to start getting creative and think beyond the elliptical. Step off the treadmill and take a class that will get your brain and body to “think” differently. Doing the same workout routine day in and out will inevitably result in a plateau in fitness results, boredom, and tragically, giving up.
4. Schedule mini projects
The holiday means time off and more time to spend with loved ones. If rubbing elbows with family members leaves you bumping heads, get all of your hands busy with a project. However, make sure this project can be reasonably executed in a short amount of time and does not mean demolishing a room will keep stress levels as bay. Simple DIY projects can be as easy as rearranging your unmentionable drawer or a creative idea found on Pinterest.
5. Give yourself the gift of a digital sabbatical
Are you obsessed with checking your email or various social media accounts? “Unplugging from the digital world is a great way to reclaim your time and create the space to do what matters,” says Debra Smouse, Life Coach and writer. Logging off and unplugging from updates and statuses allows us to make a connection with people and, Smouse says, the opportunity to “experience the freedom of not caring about what’s going on online.”
6. Say no
“It’s OK to say no when you’re asked to do more than you can,” says Linda Walter, L.C.S.W. in her article, 10 Tips for Surviving the Holidays. “It’s fine to say no to some invitations and fine to say no to those asking for favors.”
As your regular routine is derailed by cold weather, celebrations, and time off, making the most of time indoors can give you the boost your body and wellbeing needs during this potentially stressful time of year. In fact, if you are willing to step outside your regular routine and change your mindset to look forward to your winter life instead of dreading it, you could actually be in store for happier times indoors.
About the author: Elizabeth Rago is a freelance writer specializing in health, wellness, and women’s lifestyle content, working with yoga studios, chiropractors, mental health, and wellness practitioners. Elizabeth works alongside Cozy Products to create expert content as well as writes the weekly column, The Circular Home for Chicago Shopping (an editorial partner of the Chicago Tribune) and is Senior Editor of All Things Girl, highlighting topics related to the modern domestic woman. She has been published in Mamalode Magazine, MOMentumNation.com and thesavvyfreelancer.com. Connect with Elizabeth on Twitter, LinkedIn, Houzz, and Google+