I remember in a yoga class many years ago, the teacher referred to “creating your own internal weather.” If I recall, it was snowing that day, just as it snowed today and has snowed several times in the past month.
The idea of creating your own internal weather had to do with the idea of finding inner peace and allowing that to influence your mood rather than letting external influences sway you into a grumpy mood. Sounds great, but who can do that when they’re traipsing around the slush and snow? I didn’t say it was easy!
Having said that, I find this to be similar to the suggestion of many time management experts that encourage people to do what they need to do on their to-do list, rather than letting emails dictate how they spend their day. I know on many days, I wake up with the intent to do 3 things and by lunchtime I realize I’ve spent all morning doing what other people wanted me to do.
So, having said that, how do you create your own sense of inner peace in the heart of wintertime? If you live in the Northeast as I do and were born here, you just develop a thick skin for this kind of weather. There’s a certain “hardiness” that people like to say they’ve developed—the ability to drive in snow and ice, going out for a run in the snow, layering on the clothes and going about your business regardless. But in the past few years, my ability to tolerate the winter months in Boston has really faltered and I’ve needed to employ a lot of little tricks to get from December to May. Here are some of my favorites; I hope you find one or a few that give you some peace of mind and a warm feeling inside (even if it’s below zero outside!)
- Buy the right gear. It’s bad enough that the weather blows. Don’t head out in your sneakers in the snow just because you’re “running to the corner store.” Buy boots, the right coat, gloves and a hat. You can be tough but you want to be warm.
- Get lots of manicures and pedicures. Our feet tend to take a back seat to the rest of our body in the cold winter months. Then, once May rolls around, we all dive back into the salons to get on schedule for regular nail care. Take time to bare your feet, pick a sweet color and you’ll feel great when you see them peeking out from under the covers or when you’re in a downward dog.
- Speaking of downward dog, take lots of yoga classes! The summer tends to be a natural time to ease off your regular yoga practice in favor of running or spending time at the beach. Find time to go more in the winter and if you enjoy it, try a heated class. It’ll feel great to shed your layers, be in bare feet and sweat! Just remember to bring dry clothes and a hat to change into when you’re done. Do not go out in the cold in sweaty yoga clothes!
- Flowers and lot of them. In the house, at your desk, by your nightstand. I make it a priority to have them throughout the winter. If you can get one of those little pots with green grass growing, that’s great too. Visual reminders of nature are powerful ways to stay sane when it’s below 10 degrees outside.
- Along with flowers, seashells or any mementos from the beach are great too. I have tons of jars of shells in my house, collected over the years, a branch from a tree, found on the beach and weathered from years of water lapping over it, and rocks found in the ocean. Again, they remind me of warmer days and remind me that summer isn’t too far away.
- Cut out pictures of warm places. Many magazines promote getting away in the winter and if you don’t have the funds, or even if you do, cut out a few. I have a great picture from Self Magazine of a women diving into a pool in a beautiful tropical setting and it’s prominently displayed on my kitchen cabinet.
- Comfort food is great and there are lots of reasons to eat warm, hearty food in winter. But check out as much fresh fruit and produce you can get your hands on and try seasonal fresh veggies. The more alive and natural it is, the better!
- Keep a favorite scented moisturizer by your bedside. Before you go to sleep, slather it on your hands and especially your feet. While you sleep, you’re providing your skin with the healthy moisture it lacks during the day. You’ll wake up feeling soft!
- Count the days. That’s right. When all else fails, keep track of how many days remain between you and warmer weather! It’ll give you something to do while you’re employing all these other tricks!
What are your tricks to get you through the cold? Add your comments here. I would love to hear from you!