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Winter Cruise or Winter Blues?

Which one will you choose?

My Winter Cruise is not about setting sail for the Caribbean: I’m talking about enjoying a pleasurable and smooth winter.

January is a tough month for most of us in the Northern Hemisphere. The frantic run-up to Festive Season is over, the winter has only just begun and suddenly you feel ten years older as your body tenses up in the cold weather. You feel more lethargic. It’s as if you’d become a different person overnight.

You’ve probably set goals for the year, but suddenly you can’t see a metre ahead, so how could you possibly plan to achieve your targets within the next twelve months? The very thought of your New Year’s resolutions quickly seems punishing.

Whilst you’re probably wondering how to avoid catching the flu and how you’ll survive on such low levels of daylight, you tend to forget to enjoy the season for what it has to offer. Yes, lots of grey weather – I hear you! – but how about some quiet indoors time for a bit of exploration?

Think about it this way. There are a bunch of constants in the winter: cold weather, low energy levels, less daylight. There’s little you can do about these other than stock up on vitamin D and invest in a good SAD lamp.

But remember, the season only lasts a short time and days have already started to get longer, so why not make the most of it this cosy lull to engage in your own little project – your own Winter Cruise?

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”
Albert Camus

You have 8-10 weeks ahead of you, so rather than pray for the spring, how about kick-starting the year by deep diving into a passion of yours? Think about something, which tickles your fancy – an interest, which you think of as an indulgence, or even a crazy dream – we all need to escape at times!

It may be something you could realistically turn into a job at some point, like exploring whether you could make a living out of your talent for crochet. Or it could be about revisiting a childhood dream – maybe you could take up ballet or tennis again and immerse yourself in the universe and everyday life of ballerinas or tennis champions… Or it may even be something really wild, like imagining a completely different life abroad, or a dramatically new career, and spending weeks delving into what that reality might look like, following bloggers, asking to speak to people who can help, reading stories of major life changes.

For instance, maybe you’ve always secretly dreamt of making a living out of your passion for writing, but feel it’s unlikely to ever turn into a career. You’ve been wanting to write a book for years but thought you should wait for the perfect time when you could go on a writers’ retreat – that may be a long way away. Why not take 8 weeks to obsess over it? Sign up for an online challenge or even for a competition. You could join a writers’ group, look for bloggers to follow, find online and offline communities, ask to talk to people who make a living out of it to understand their lifestyle…

You could start getting up early in the morning and writing for 20 minutes before going about your usual business. Develop a secret parallel writer’s life – keep your notebook with you at all times, only tell a couple of people about your endeavour and observe the world around you to stock up on materials for your characters. In the end, you may realise it’s not an avenue you wish to pursue professionally, but you’ll have made a nice group of friends along the way, broadened your horizon and fed a passion which really deserved to be nurtured.

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” A. Camus Tweet This

On a more mundane level, maybe you’re wondering how to keep your children entertained and reasonably calm during the long hours they’ll be spending indoors. Why not focus on a country you want to find out more about, a country you might like to go and visit someday, even in a distant future? Make it a project to share with your children, revelling in the joys of imagination, anticipation and discovery. You could have a Japanese winter – explore the customs, learn songs, discover the history and geography of the country with your children. Share the thrill of learning with them and they’ll be all the more excited. Learn how to make sushi with them. Greet them with “Ohayōgozaimasu!” in the morning.

Instead of punishing yourself by looking at your lucky friends’ holiday snaps on Facebook, you’ll suddenly find yourself searching for tips, biographies, books and recipes online. Who knows, you may want the winter to last forever!

Winter is a great time to allow ourselves to do the things we generally don’t think we have the time for. And in doing so, we can turn it into a time to treat ourselves and to grow. The trick is to focus on one thing, one theme, and to explore what we find interesting about it. You may want to make a major change in your life as a result, but most likely, you’ll want to make minor adjustments, which will boost your happiness levels in the long term.

Whatever you decide to do, the winter will be over before you know it. Wouldn’t it be more fun to enjoy the moment and take time to learn more about what makes you tick, rather than pine for clement weather?

I’d love to hear from you so please share your thoughts by using the comments section below, or email me at charlotte(at)astoryworthliving.com

  • Do you have any tricks on how to enjoy the winter?
  • Do you have a project for the winter?

If you think one of your friends could do with some ideas to overcome the winter blues, please send them the link to this post. Thanks for reading!

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