You know that heightened sense of awareness that we get around summer time? May rolls around and we’re antsy to be outside, play in the sun, have a few days off of work, and jam-pack our weekends with fun outdoor activities. We feel happier. Healthier. There seems to be more to look forward to, and for a lot of us, work slows down a little bit and the quiet gives us a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the year. We give ourselves more permission (and reason) to take vacations and long weekends, or leave work early to go to a ball game. We want to soak up the sun and the long daylight hours for as long as we can. We seem to wait all year for this season to arrive.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? But why is it that for most of us, we can’t stay in this Zen-like momentum from September-May? Is it just me, or does it only seem to last throughout the summer?
While the answer may seem logical and fairly simple (sun, vacation, ice cream, beach, bike riding, what more could someone ask for?), if we really stop and think about the “good life” and the joy that most of us naturally feel during these times of the year, perhaps it would behoove us to try an duplicate them in other seasons as well.
One of the reasons why summer is so great is because we get ample amounts of Vitamin D, which we’ve been told can be one fact in boosting our mood. Of course it doesn’t seem as appealing to be outside during the colder or snowier months (depending upon where you live), but there are still things that we can do the rest of the year to keep us feeling as happy and healthy as we do from May-August.
Here are a few tips:
1) Give yourself permission to act like the whole year is summer. Schedule that vacation. Take a long weekend. Learn how to ski, snowboard, or do some other fun outdoor activity. Plan these outings ahead of time so that you don’t cringe at the first sight of snow. Don’t save all of your fun for the summer, make sure to set an intention to follow your joy the whole year through!
2) Speak to your doctor if you believe that your mood takes a serious dip in the winter months. Talk to them about taking Vitamin D tablets, buying a sun lamp, and/or think about making an effort to bundle up and going out even for a quick walk during lunch. Anything to feel like that winter lethargy isn’t taking over!
3) Learn to nurture your creativity, hobbies and relationships not just at the beach or pool, but during the months when you feel like hibernating too. It’s easy to become depressed at the start of winter knowing that people mostly stay indoors and you may not see your friends or family as much as you do the rest of the year. Work on that photo album that you’ve been wanting to create, host a weekly or monthly game-night with friends, meet at the movies, pick a new place for dinner, host a holiday get-together, start new traditions that you can look forward to every winter. Try not to isolate. It’s important not to dread a big chunk of the year, so start thinking now about how you can make the colder months, wherever you live, just a little bit more fun.