Ah, the holidays — such a fun and festive time of year. Living in New York, everything really seems to come alive at the tail-end of fall. Stores are ornately decorated, streets are brightly lit, and it hasn’t been cold long enough to dread the work commute. Everyone seems full of joy, hope, and promise that the upcoming year will be better, more fun…and happier.
As we all know, happiness comes from within. So what can we do to keep this internal joy once the shops change décor, the lights are taken down, and the weather drops below 0 degrees? The days tend to seem longer, the dark feels bleaker, and it doesn’t take long to realize that seasonal depression is real.
Instead of dwelling on what’s wrong with the change in seasons, why don’t we take a step back and focus on what can actually be beneficial from spending more time indoors this time of year.
Remember all those things you said (or say) you want to learn, try, do? Well, no better time than right now to seize the opportunity.
1. Take the time to reconnect with old friends
Call up that cozy Cajun restaurant you’ve been dying to try and make a res for two. Hit up an old friend on Facebook and ask them to meet you for a drink. What’s the worst that could happen, they say “no thanks”?
Find a local organization that speaks to you. Whether it’s serving soup at the local homeless shelter, organizing clothing donations, or simply fundraising for an upcoming event, it truly will make you feel good to give back.
Now’s your chance to avoid that pre-summer panic. Sign up for a new gym, try an at-home video, buy a yoga mat. Don’t re-make last year’s mistake of hibernating into a three-month long Oreo+red wine induced binge-coma. Oh, that was just me? Cool.
4. Treat yourself
Sexy self-care! Your body is a temple and it’s all you’ve got, so you better treat it right. Instead of an expensive (and cold) night out drinking, save the money and go to the spa. Get a facial, do your nails, get a massage, color your hair. Look good, feel good.
It’s no question you work hard… and likely play hard too. It’s your time to take advantage of snow flurries and closed roads. Why freeze outside when you can be cozy in bed? Treat this season as a recharge for body and mind.
Meditation isn’t just a trend — it truly is a way of life. Founders and CEOs of multi-million dollar companies say without meditation, they’d go berserk. Deep belly breathing and quiet escapes from the daily grind are proven to manage stress and anxiety. Download an easy-to-follow guided meditation platform like Headspace to get you started.
7. Learn something new
You’re a 20something. This is your time with the least amount of responsibility, the most “you” time you’ll likely ever have again. Learn that signature dish you’ve been trying to cook, take a dance class, pick up a guitar. It’s never too late to try something different.
8. Kill it at work
Chances are, people aren’t rushing to the nearest rooftop for happy hour mid-February. Stay at the office a little longer, take on a new project, show your commitment and you’ll likely be rewarded.
9. Start a new show
I’m sure you’re tired of hearing “you HAVE to start ____.” The last thing I need is a new show to take away from my two jobs, struggling social life and dwindling gym time. Now is your time to Netflix n’ Chill. QUICK! Last minute addition to the Christmas list.
10. Plot twist… Go outside
I know all of the above focuses on staying indoors, but sometimes it’s good to get out of the comfort zone and submerge yourself in true beauty. Wintertime isn’t always comfortable, but boy can it be beautiful. Explained in this awe-inspiring TEDTalk, surf photographer Chris Burkard explains that anything worth pursuing is going to require us to suffer, just a little bit.
Happy (post) holidays!