I was just telling a friend the other day that this is the first winter I can remember embracing and finding enjoyable. Perhaps part of the reason for that is because it's been a very mild winter, not too bitterly cold (yet.)
But I think that another big reason is because it's been such a welcome time of rest.
When the winter season set in this year, I gave myself a good talking to. I told myself that I was going to make the best of it. You see, I know the potential winter brings to my mind. The potential to complain, gripe, be down and depressed. So I told myself that I was going to try my darnedest to remain positive. To see this as a season of downtime and rest, of coziness and warmth.
Every season serves a purpose. Even the dark, cold ones...
Just as God planned the winter as a time for the plants to hibernate, to gear up for the upcoming growing season, so God gives us seasons in our lives when we can (and should) rest and prepare to grow.
So as a way to boost my mood during these short, dark days of winter, these days when I'm prone to feel depressed and sad, I've been doing the following...
1. Lighting candles. When the sky starts to darken for the night, I light the candles. I bring light and warmth into the house. It's amazing how a couple of lit candles lift my mood and make the house feel cozy.
2. Play music. My choice of music is classical or instrumental on most nights. I also enjoy Shaun Groves and Andrew Petersen. The slow, soft music sets a mood of relaxation. But, I don't know, maybe you need some upbeat, praise and worship music. Whatever lifts your mood and makes your soul feel at ease.
3. Involve yourself in a hobby you can do at home. If you already have something you enjoy doing but have not done for awhile, pick back up on that. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, learn something new. For me, crocheting and sewing are big pick-me-ups this time of year, and are things I don't really have time for during the warmer, busier months of the year. I'm also appreciating more available moments to read and write.
4. Go outside. Even if it's only for five minutes, I've found that pulling on the snow boots and heading out for a couple of laps around our property, energizes me. In fact, last night, Lily joined me after dinner for a walk in the dark. And I came in feeling invigorated and much better.
5. Remind yourself to think positive. Hang reminders around the house. Use post-it notes on your bathroom mirror, little reminders of the things you have to be grateful for. Or use a gratitude journal as I do (read more about this here at Holy Experience) to number your thankfulness. Naming your blessings really does help!
6. Take care of God's creation. We have a bird feeder on the railing of our front porch that Brad built several winters ago. Every morning, I fill it up with bird seed for our feathery friends. We also have a furry friend visiting this year, a little chipmunk who has a burrow under one of our shrubs out front. There's just something so enjoyable about being able to provide for God's creation and then to observe their beauty as they visit.
7. Start planning for the spring. It really will be here soon. So if you garden, start planning your garden mid-February when the doldrums of winter are at their heaviest. Make lists of new plants you want to try or a new shrub or flower you want to add to your landscaping.
8. Embrace the winter as God's season of rest. Remind yourself that this is a season, and all seasons will come to an end. And before you know it, you'll be basking in the heat of the sun's rays once again.
Have a most blessed Thursday!!!!