Now that it’s January, winter is in full swing. The excitement of the holidays and fresh snow has likely worn off. You might be looking ahead at the next few months thinking, “how am I going to get through this?” Between a pandemic, the cold weather, and the lack of social interaction due to these factors, this winter feels longer than usual. We’re here to help with our tips for getting through it – safely and joyfully.
Find your joy in the little things
What brings you joy? Make a list of everything that inspires personal happiness. It could be anything from taking a bubble bath to listening to your favorite playlist! Big or small, write it down and refer to this list throughout your week. Schedule one little joyful thing each day and one big joyful thing each week. For the moments in between, try to notice and savor happy moments. Maybe it’s the way the sunlight hits your desk, or the delicious taste of the first sip of coffee in the morning. Take more time than usual to really appreciate these small and beautiful parts of your life.
Make meaningful social connections
If you’re feeling down this winter, remember that social interactions always help. Other people are also struggling this time, so make your interactions meaningful by opening up to the people around you. Tell them how you’re feeling and they might be able to relate, or even provide some of their own advice. Vulnerability can be scary when sharing your challenges, but opening up will ultimately bring you closer to your loved ones and create strong bonds. If you can’t see your loved ones in person, schedule weekly video conferencing dates to catch up and check in.
Be gentle with yourself
Did you have ambitious New Years’ resolutions to finally start an epic morning routine, get on top of all of your coursework, and exercise every day? Maybe that’s not super realistic right now. It’s okay if you find yourself needing to take a step back from some of the goals you set for yourself! If there’s ever a time to show yourself some care and compassion, it’s now. Don’t be afraid to say no to commitments that no longer appeal to you, take lots of breaks throughout your days, and communicate your needs to others. Looking for a quick and simple way to communicate your boundaries? Don’t try to make an excuse or tell a white lie. Instead, reply with something like, “That doesn’t work for me right now. I’m dealing with a lot and I need to take a step back.” That statement is completely valid and acceptable!
Life might feel difficult right now, but remember that we will all get through this. In just a few short months, the weather will improve and the COVID-19 vaccine will eventually allow some of us to reunite in-person. For now, stay positive by finding joy throughout your days, connecting with others, and displaying lots of compassion towards yourself.