The Winter months can easily bring down your mood. This is especially true if your positivity comes from being exposed to warm, sunny weather. It’s not an impossible task to stay optimistic and positive in Winter- in fact, it can be fun! All you need is to act on your desire to be happy.
There is a wide variety of activities in which you can partake to have fun in Winter that can lift your spirits. According to Linda McGurk, the Swedish author of “There’s no such thing as bad weather”, a positive wintertime mindset can be cultivated, especially by employing the three strategies outlined below that are frequently adopted by Scandinavians.
Strategy 1: Spend time outdoors
The Norwegian concept of friluftsliv (roughly translated to ‘open air life’) is, according to Per Kare Jakobsen, a researcher at the University of Tromso, key to understanding the positive mindset of Norwegians, especially in colder weather. This involves dressing for the weather by wearing woolen socks, leggings, etc. and getting outside.
It might be difficult to get motivated to go outside in the cold when it’s warm and snuggly inside, but as soon as you dress up and go outside, something magical happens- the cold can actually feel good. You’d feel refreshed, vital, and would most likely feel the benefits of being in contact with the elements. This is in line with psychological research that shows the benefits of being in nature- Even short amounts of time spent outdoors can improve our mood, mental health, and physical wellbeing.
Simply wear enough clothes that you won’t become wet (or freeze)! Whether you opt to walk in the park, along a lake or river, even just visiting a rooftop with a view, all you need to do to reap the benefits is to feel the wind, the air, and look around yourself.
Strategy 2: Make it special
It’s easy to feel restricted in Winter, but it’s important to look for the opportunities that the season provides. One way to do this is by using light to celebrate the darkness that comes with Winter. If you choose to stay indoors, gather around the fireplace or light candles. Embracing anything cozy, known as ‘hygge’ in Denmark or ‘koselig’ in Norway, can be the antidote you need to make you feel better.
Making things cozy isn’t just about warm beverages and fuzzy blankets, it’s about feeling content. This is both psychological and physical- For example, if you gather around a bonfire with some friends, it doesn’t just bring you into nature, it also creates a (CoVid-friendly) social environment with loved ones that can improve your mood and thereby your physical wellbeing, too. This becomes a mindful moment where you’re able to pause any stress you have and enjoy ‘being’.
Strategy 3: Appreciate the season
The way you see things greatly affects how they affect you. If you want to have a different mindset, you need to try changing your mind. This applies for the way you think about Winter, too! Try to appreciate your thoughts- figure out what you like about Winter. Is it the chance to light the fireplace or some candles? Is it snuggling up in your favourite place with a cup of cocoa and a fuzzy blanket? Is it an opportunity to get absorbed by your reading or arts and crafts activities? Maybe it’s the way the world seems to go completely quiet after the rain or snow falls. Whatever it is, try to consciously focus on the things that make you feel good.
Having a positive mindset about the wintertime doesn’t mean you need to deny the realities of Winter or pretending that you like every aspect of it. There are definitely obstacles (very few people actually enjoy shoveling snow) but try to overcome them by thinking of the positive of each obstacle- for example, imagine how beautiful the path will look after shoveling the snow and appreciate how fresh the air smells while you’re doing it.
Whatever your choice of activity, pay attention to the things that are beautiful about it and appreciate them. This can make a huge difference in the way you experience these things and how it affects you, your mood, and your physical wellbeing.
When you think about it, all of the above are also true when you’re working, because you’re surrounded by events that could be stressful or make you feel less positive (just like the cold and darkness that Winter brings). By implementing these strategies, you can improve your mood at work, too, and Greenstaff Medical has a sunny bunch of people that can help lift your spirits if you’re ever in need. Why not join us? Browse our most recent vacancies or send us an message, we look forward to being in touch!