Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fighting Back Against the Winter Blahs

by Kelly

The Christmas decorations are all packed away.  The twinkle lights are in plastic storage bins down in the basement. My girl is back at university.  For me, the novelty of winter has completely worn off. 

Sometimes it can be a real challenge for me to stay motivated and inspired this time of year...what with the dreary, gray skies and bitter cold.  If I'm not vigilant, the winter blahs will come creeping up on me.  And so for that reason, I have come up with my own ways to fight back.  Today I thought I might share with a few of the things that have made a difference for me.

1) For me, December is a month long vacation from my typical healthy eating routine.  Too much party food, sugar, wine, etc.  Too much of everything in general is probably more like it.  So it feels good to get back into a good routine of healthy eating.  Nourish my body with what it really needs...and no, it does need a piece of cheesecake.

2) And related to the previous, it also feels good to get back into my normal exercise routine.  Because honestly...I exercise every bit as much for my mental heath as I do for my physical health.  Exercise is a great stress reliever plus it also releases feel-good hormones into our systems.  And I don't know about you, but I could sure use a healthy dose of that.

3) Another important factor in the winter is the sunlight.  Or lack of it.  Lack of vitamin D is linked to seasonal depression, so whenever the sun does finally decide to come out, I'm soaking up as much as possible.  In fact, during the winter months I can often be found sitting at my kitchen table where the light pours in from our french doors.  And even if it's freezing, I'll bundle up and take my dog for a walk around the block.  Because hey...beggars can't be choosers, right.  

4) Each of these three things - diet, exercise, sunlight - does wonders on its own.  But together they work magic on one area of my life where I have the most problem...and that is sleep. Or lack of it.  I struggle with insomnia off and on, but especially when I'm not taking care of my health.  And lack of sleep is one area of my life that really takes a toll on my overall well-being.  So during the winter months, I try to be disciplined about my sleep routine which means limited screen time with all flavors of electronics.

OK.  So now that I'm back on track with my physical health, I also try to nurture my creative health.  I have found that winter is great time to take a class...learn something new.  Or even start a new project.  Last winter is when I started practicing calligraphy and it has been a real joy for me ever since.

This time of year is also great for experimenting with new styles of photography or post-processing. Last weekend, before my girl went back to campus, I twisted her arm for an urban style photoshoot downtown. It was such a fun time with her, but it was also fun playing around in Lightroom and creating a little bit different look with my photos.

This next thing will probably sound a little goofy, but one of the things I try to do is buy fresh flowers to have in my house.  Which does not have to be expensive at all!!  You can get a stem of daisies or these little waxflowers for five dollars.

I don't know...something about having flowers in the house makes me smile.  Their sweetness can brighten the gloomiest of days.  But mostly, these sweet little blossoms remind me that winter is part of the natural order of the seasons.  Winter is part of the ebb and flow of life.  And even if it's not my favorite, winter still has gifts to share.

So for the time being, I'm going to take pictures of my flowers. Maybe practice my calligraphy a little more.  Drink my tea.  But mostly I'm going to try to stop complaining about winter. And try to grateful and remember that it is all good.

I would love to hear from you....what is your best advice for staying inspired and motivated during winter?  Any special tips or techniques?

Until next time,



AFishGirl said...

You will laugh today if you go to my blog, Kelly. You will laugh. Come visit me!

Lisa Comperry said...

Lol, I am about to twist Chris's (my older son) arm for an urban shoot together..He lives downtown and is expert at navigation with a map..I also have the gray day blahs..Last week I bought myself some flowers to shoot with, lol..When the gray days become less windy/rainy my patio will become my work station to digitize some old family pictures..I am gonna try to photograph them vs scanning them..

Lisa Comperry said...

I love your photos and your post :-)

CarolHart said...

Kelly, I really needed to read this today. Like you, I focus on being more active, and nourishing myself with good food and creativity - and it does help. But winter's darker side overtook me for a couple of days. Your wise words have reminded me that winter won't last forever and I need to focus on the unique gifts that come to us this time of year.

Deanna said...

Oh I completely identify with those winter blahs, especially after last year. Exercise is definitely what I need to lift the spirits and cleaning out my office would help too.

terriporter said...

I always enjoy getting back to my usual routines after the holidays. And there's something about a brand new year that makes me want to learn something new. I'm going back to my Lightroom lessons and trying to "fall in love" with it, as Kim Klassen says. I don't have the problem of cold and lack of sun, thank goodness. All it takes is one gray day and I'm grumbling so I can only imagine what it must be like to have day after day of that. I think I would be going straight for the chocolate! Love all of your ideas for coping with the winter blahs, Kelly!

Dotti said...

Your suggestions and beautiful photos are the perfect antidote to winter blahs. We have a lot of grey, chilly if not cold, weather here and it's a challenge to me and my camera. Oh! And supermarket flowers? You betcha. From now until I have some blooms in my garden.

Carol said...

Once again, we have so much in common. Although I have been careless about exercise in recent years ( sigh-OK time to re-start), I am with you already on all the other things. I too restarted the klassen classes I am already in, but behind on, and I also signed up for a little writing course. I am deeply immersed in contemplative readings that Patricia Turner had on Pinterest.
I actually love the cold, although I am not crazy about getting to work in it. The other blessing is the beautiful winter light in my kitchen-that was the genesis of my kitchen table series a few years ago . It is beautiful to wake up to. Your macro photography is as beautiful as ever here! Happy winter, my friend!

Linda said...

Well, I'm over winter too. For me it usually hits Jan 2 each year. Christmas time is supposed to be cold but that is it. Come Jan I start scouring the yard for something green! Yes, exercising and eating right (again!) helps me too. And big YES to fresh flowers in the house! That helps get my mind off the dreary outside! I am wIting for some tulips to show up at the local grocery!

Odd Moon Designs said...

Lovely post and images - love the urban style image!

Kim said...

Oh yes, I struggle! These images are a balm for a winter weary soul!

Kelly Kardos said...

All great thing Kelly-and yes-I love small bouquets of flowers-the simpke unassuming ones are the best!

Linda Arandas said...

I try to remember that it's just part of nature's cycle (as I dream of retiring to a place where the sun shines in the Winter months).
I use this season as a time for rest and reflection...time to recharge my creativity.

heyjudephotography said...

Boy have you hit the nail on the head here Kelly. All of the things you mentioned do wonders for me as well. These NY winters can seem never-ending, and really, we have only just gotten started with the cold and snow and ice here. I seek the sunshine as much as I can - and like you- that means even if it's just finding a spot by a sunny window for awhile. And flowers, yes flowers, to bring color and happy happy to the home. Hang in there and stay warm friend.

Linda R said...

A wonderful post.. Such great tips.


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