Posted by Karen Degen on 1st June 2017
Tags: Winter Blues
No, this isn’t a blog about hot soup or mulled wine or woolly sheets. Those practical things do help but what works even better is a different mindset about winter. I used to think to myself “I hate winter”. In fact, I used to tell people that. “I hate being cold” or “winter sucks”. That was before I learned the connection between your thoughts and your emotions. What we think is how we feel. When I think I hate winter I feel miserable. When I think that winter is part of the cycle of life and I’m in a place of acceptance of that cycle, then I feel happy.
I no longer think or say that I hate winter. Now I do the opposite, that is I find things to be grateful for about winter. For instance, when it’s a cold day outside I send out happy grateful thoughts that I have a warm house or car or clothes. When its so nasty outside that there isn’t much to do, I send out happy grateful thoughts that I’m not too busy and have time to do nothing. How often do you complain that you have too much to do or are too busy or stressed? Winter is the opposite where we want to do things outdoors but can’t. We have forced relaxation. Instead of complaining, send out happy grateful thoughts for the down-time. I remind myself often and regularly of the up-sides to winter, for instance feeling clean (and not sweaty) all day.
I also remind myself that I have a choice. I don’t have to go through winter. You have a choice too, although you might not realise it. If you really wanted to avoid winter you could move somewhere that the living was cheap, like India or Indonesia. You could have endless summer. You are choosing not to because you want something else more. It might be your family or your friends or your lifestyle or the money you can earn here. Maybe you don’t want to sell everything to move somewhere and start again with nothing. Whatever it is that you don’t want to give up, you are choosing it over and above choosing a warmer climate. When I remind myself that I am choosing this situation, I find I accept it more easily and am happier with it.
One of my favourite quotes is by Byron Katie who says “The only time we are ever unhappy is when we are in conflict with reality”. When we have the winter blues its because we are in conflict with our reality, i.e. we don’t want it to be cold or rainy (even though it is). We are in a state of resistance to our ‘what is’. It is only in the resistance that we feel unhappy. Stop resisting ‘what is’ and we stop being unhappy. Your resistance to winter doesn’t change the fact that it comes every year. If you are able to stop resisting it or being in conflict with it, and accept it, you will no longer feel ‘blue’. If you are able to manage acceptance then reach for the next step which is enjoyment of ‘what is’. It takes practice over a period of time to train your mind to think differently, so don’t feel bad if you struggle with this at first. Keep it up and it gets easier.