November always manages to kick my ass. Nanowrimo and the holidays combine and call upon the force of seasonal depression to kick my ass. And every year I learn new things to help keep the winter feels away. I’ve embraced Hygge, focused on meditation, started taking a D vitamin and an antidepressant prescribed by my doctor. All those things totally help. But, I’m always learning and always growing. And today I’m sharing six things I’m doing to keep my life and mind in a good place this winter. And, really, all year round.
The Alistair method
I just found this new way to do a weekly spread in my bullet journal from this BohoBerry video. If you haven’t heard of this, check out the video. I can’t tell you how much better this makes me feel. Instead of looking at a whole week’s worth of activities, I can see just what I need to do each day. It also allows me to write things I need to do as they come to my brain, and still prioritize my actions by day. I’m also able to realize if I’m heaping way too much on one day. Which I have a bad habit of doing.
So many plants!
Last winter, I bought a cactus. Then, I bought a few more. Now I have basil, lavender, three aloes, my original cactus, and a pot of something that I didn’t mean to grow, but I’ll be damned if I’ll kill it now. I also have some moss on a rock that just seemed to want to come home with me. I’m hoping to grow peppermint and sage soon.
Bringing green life into my house is something I’ve struggled with. Focusing on plants that seem to not want to, you know, die at the slightest provocation, has helped.
Learning new things
I mean, I’m always learning new things. But it helps me in the winter to have something new and shiny to put in my brain. On the worst day, I have something to look forward to. I’ve been learning about reading tarot, that’s been fun. I’m also taking a ton of classes on Futurelearn. Always, learning, always growing. That’s the secret to being excited about every day. Well, that and coffee.
Yeah, that’s right. A chore chart. Just like when you were a kid. I’ve developed a chore chart based heavily on what I learned about myself and my needs while going through the Flylady’s 30-day course. I know what I need to do to keep control of my house, and what I’m capable of doing every day.
Why is this important? It’s not because I’m someone who requires a clean and orderly house to rest my weary head. It’s because once my house gets to a certain level of insanity, I become like a deer in the headlights. I can’t move, can’t think of what to do. I also can’t relax or even make a cup of tea in peace. Spending fifteen to thirty minutes a day to keep my house in order helps keep me sane.
And for those of you rebelling, that it doesn’t matter what your house looks like, listen. I deserve to have a clean home for me. You do too. It’s not for your mom, your roommate, your spouse. It is for you.
Focusing on therapeutic yoga in the morning
My upper back’s been killing me recently. Not sure why yet. Probably that I’ve been sitting at desks too often and I’m getting to an age where my body’s just not down for that. But, whatever it is, I’ve been doing this yoga sequence to help. And let me tell you, it has. It has.
No matter how busy I am in the morning, I fit in this yoga sequence. Because pain is the teacher the Universe resorts to if you won’t listen to any other. If you’re not in any overall pain, start taking measures to keep it that way right now. Don’t let yourself get to a place where you’re in tears just sitting at your desk at work.
Cooking things from scratch
I didn’t grow up in a family that did a lot of cooking from scratch. About the only thing we ever made that didn’t include a box or can of something pre-made were chocolate chip cookies. And even for that, we used the instructions on the back of the chocolate chip bag.
But I’ve started getting into this. I’ve become one of those people that have both baking soda and baking powder in my house and using each regularly. I’ve learned to make scones, several kinds of cookies, Irish soda bread, beef wellington, and a ton of other things. As I’ve gotten into this, I can see how it’s an art form that I can use to perk myself up. On a cold grey day that discourages me from going outside, I can whip up a loaf of bread or some scones. I can make some rice pudding if I’m really needing some self-love.
So that’s it. I’m hoping that this will be a great winter with these new tools at my disposal. But I’m always looking for new ways to grow. What do you do to keep the winter blues away? Let us know in the comments below.