The days are getting longer but spring still seems a long way off, it might be easy to slip into a seasonal slump.
Yet, there are things you can do to keep positive and remain optimistic about the future. Here are some suggestions to help you to stay motivated and resilient.
If you have moments when you’re feeling down or frustrated this winter, think about what you’re doing well and engage in positive self-talk. How you talk to yourself can greatly affect how you think, feel and behave, and help to put things into perspective.
Try saying “stop” straight after having a negative thought, or telling yourself what to do in a positive and a helpful way.
“Do it badly”
Olivia Remes of Cambridge University maintains that optimists live longer, have better relationships and better immune systems.
She believes that it’s possible to cultivate optimism – an inner sense that you can make a difference to your life – and that it’s not all down to things outside your control.
Her number one tip is to practice the principle of ”do it badly”.
The theory is based on something writer and poet GK Chesterton said: “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.”
In other words, don’t wait to do things perfectly at the right time on the right day and don’t worry about how it’s going to turn out – just give it a go. This advice is even more important in winter when gloomy weather might make you think twice about even starting.
Have a structure to your days. If you’re working from home, keep to a routine with regular bedtimes, waking times, mealtimes, and downtime.
You might want to keep an achievable to-do list with daily tasks you can complete and tick off to help keep you focussed, productive and motivated.
Have a hobby
Having a regular hobby helps provide a structure to your week, gives you something to look forward to, and keeps your mind active.
Consider taking up something new, maybe playing an instrument, drawing, knitting, baking or practising mindfulness or meditation.
Try your best to stay connected and communicate with others. Even if you can’t meet up with family and friends, maintain those relationships over the phone or online.
If you’re finding things difficult, it can be helpful to talk things through with someone. They may help you to find a different way of approaching a problem and how to resolve it.
Getting outdoors for exercise can be difficult in winter but going outside and getting fresh air is good for your mental and physical health.
Whatever your age, size or physical condition, you are likely to benefit from being more active. And if you don’t really get much exercise now, the good news is that the people who benefit the most are inactive people who start to take regular, moderate activity.
No matter how small, plan an activity routine for yourself. Plan a time in your day when you’ll do your activity. If you’re a morning person, why not get up that bit earlier and fit some activity in before you start your day? Even short periods of exercise – just 10 minutes – can help. Anything that leaves you slightly out of breath, like a brisk walk, gardening, or a bicycle ride.
Walk or cycle to and from local places whenever you can or go outside to get some fresh air. Take the dog for a walk or, if you’re working, go for a lunchtime walk.
Arrange to meet a friend on a regular basis to be active together. Keeping each other company will keep you motivated.
Always look out for ways to get bursts of activity into your day.
Try to follow a balanced diet to boost your mood and improve your immune system. You don’t need to stick to a strict dieting regime, just try to balance any winter treats with lots of fruit and vegetables too.
Keeping healthy in this way can give you more energy and help you think more clearly.