Well, 2021 is here and COVID is still at the top of our minds. We are so very lucky in Nova Scotia and I am grateful for that. However, many of us are starting to experience pandemic fatigue – which is more challenging to manage during the dark months of winter.
What are some ways you can take care of yourself?
First, do things that bring you joy as often as possible. Some of my suggestions may not resonate with you so pass them by. My ideas may spark new ideas for you – run with that!
I didn’t make any resolutions
I didn’t make any last year either – but I listen to Gretchen Rubin’s Happier Podcast and I followed her lead and made a #21for21 list. She makes a list of 21 things she would like to accomplish for the year. This might seem like a long list but the complexity is up to you. A couple of examples that are on my list are – revive my cast iron frying pan so it can be used, go to McNabs Island, visit the Sensea Spa, and hike on the Bluff Wilderness Trail. There are a few work-related items, some personal items, and some family items. I use it more as a guide and something to remind me and less as a “must-do”. Last year’s list included visiting my friend in Denver and my girl guide trip to the Yukon. Those didn’t happen obviously and I don’t expect all of this years’ to happen either. It’s a fun activity and helps me incorporate new things into our lives.
We’ve started the 1000 hours outside challenge and while this is a VERY lofty goal it gives us something to work towards as a family. Try to get outside for at least 20 minutes in the daylight. The light exposure supports your mood and so will the movement. If you can’t get outside during daylight hours go for a walk with a friend in the evening. Any outside time is good time. Pair a walk with a podcast or a phone call to a friend. The oval is open this year – just remember to pre-book. I LOVE waterfalls but don’t get to see them that often. It’s at the top of my list to find a few this year.
Take Vitamin D!
It should be taken with food and in the morning if you can. Dosage varies per person but you can’t go wrong with at least 1000IU. Talk to a health care professional if you think you should be taking more. Liquid is readily absorbed and can be bought at the clinic.
Find a type of movement that you enjoy.
Pick something you like. I LOVE walking anywhere and typically listen to a podcast at the same time if I am alone. Last summer we got into paddleboarding and I finally ordered my own yesterday. The challenge will be not being able to use it until the spring! I realized I missed my weight class from the gym so I’ve come up with a way I can incorporate weights at home. What are some movements that you enjoy doing?
Read – but make sure it’s something you are interested in.
We get almost all of our books out of the library. Being able to put books on hold is amazing and they offer curbside pick up. The library has a “for later” list so when I see a book I want to read I add it to the list so I don’t forget about it. If too many others have requested the book then I put it on hold right away. It can be a pain to have to wait for a book but it’s also exciting when the book comes in! I tend to have a mixture of books on the go – work-related (nutrition, brain health, business, minimalism), memoirs, non-fiction (the book I’m reading now is about the 2006 season on Everest), fun fiction, and recently have consciously added in more books by BIPOC authors. The library makes it easy to expand my author choice. If you don’t like books try a blog, a magazine, or an audiobook. Atlantic News has a great selection of magazines.
Change your lighting.
Get sunlight in the morning before noon if you can. Dim your lights after supper. Having lights at your level (instead of overhead) helps to manage your cortisol levels so it might be time to get some lamps. Light candles during supper or while you relax afterward. Don’t look at your phone an hour before bed – or if you do, wear blue-blocking glasses.
Plan a staycation.
Get away in your own city – you don’t have to stay somewhere but go somewhere new (safely) that you haven’t been before and have been wanting to do. Rent a cabin if you are able to. Windhorse, Whitepoint, and the Quarterdeck come to mind – my heart is on the South Shore.
Make connections with the people you love or miss.
Many of us are zoomed out but you can write a letter, talk on the phone while you are walking, or have a safe visit. Send a picture or a funny comic to someone. It will be so unexpected and they will love it. Valentine’s day is coming up and while I’m not big on the commercialism it’s a great excuse to reach out to someone.
Our celebrations look different now but they can still happen. Celebrate minor holidays – a fancy breakfast for Valentine’s Day, a green smoothie for St. Patrick’s day. It adds fun to routine and gives us something to look forward to. Celebrate yourself. Did you complete a project recently? Did you take the time to reflect and be proud of what you did? Or maybe you just moved on to the next thing. It’s important to celebrate yourself and take time to enjoy the feeling. We don’t always need to be creating or moving on to the next thing on the To-Do list.
Do you need to take a course for work?
Have you been wanting to take a course in something that interests you? Winter is a great time for that. The darker nights and unpredictable weather make it the perfect time to sit down with a warm drink, a blanket, and some material. I typically do most of my online continuing education in the winter. Coursera has a number of free courses on various topics and it would be a great place to start.
Other thoughts are crafts, puzzles, video games, decluttering, meditation, learning to play an instrument and the list goes on.
It’s easy to get into a rut over the winter but with a little thought, you can incorporate something you enjoy. This will make the winter months fly by, especially as the days are always getting longer.