Don’t Retire, ReFire: Getting through the winter months

By Gail Supplee Tatum, Columnist, The Times

One thing is for certain, in the winter months, the days are short and the weather is cold and unpredictable.  That combination can lead to the “winter doldrums”.  It would be very easy to give in to that and “wait out” the time in hibernation, doing nothing and accomplishing nothing. Productivity and purpose are essential to living.  Nothing good can come from waiting out the time, when you’re talking about months. Time is precious and mustn’t be wasted.  Besides, if you choose that route, it will leave you empty and unfulfilled.  It could lead to a major setback!  There is a much better way to move through the winter months.

Here are four suggestions to follow:

  1. Stick to your daily routine. If you don’t have a routine, the winter is a perfect time to develop one.  Developing a routine could begin as simply as getting to bed at night and rising in the morning, at the same time. Eat your meals at the same time every day.  Make sure your meals include mostly protein and carbohydrates, in the form of fruits and vegetables.
  2. Move your body. I say move, not exercise, because the word exercise often sounds too rigid.  It doesn’t have to be, though. It’s a mindset.  Movement keeps the body loose and the joints lubricated.  It can be as simple as giving a big inhale with arms over your head, eyes looking upward, give thanks for something in your life, then exhale, bringing arms down. Repeat this and smile while you do it.  All of us have at least one thing that we can smile about.  Walking is another simple way to move.  If you are chair bound, move whatever part of your body that you can.  You get the picture.  You may think it is easy to sit, not move and eat like you’re going into hibernation, but none of that is good for your body OR your mind.
  3. Expand your mind. The short, cold, winter months are a perfect time to read, organize that room or those closets or drawers that you’ve been meaning to straighten up.  It’s a great time to try something new, as well.  Take a class to improve on your current trade or learn a new trade.  Read books with the subject matter that interests you and that will open your mind, like non-fiction and personal development.  If you’re a person who likes to read fiction stories that take you away to another space and time…go for it!  The idea is to incorporate what you like into your routine.  It’s a fact that if you don’t like it, you will resist it.  You may “force” yourself for a while but the routine won’t last unless it’s a routine that you can see yourself doing where it becomes a part of you.
  4. Take the time to reconnect. This is the month of “love”. Who have you thought about a lot, recently, and said, “I really need to reach out to them!” Don’t say it, do it!  There are many ways to reconnect.  Write a note.  It doesn’t have to be long unless you want it to be.  It could be a simple note, telling the person that you miss them.  Tell them what you miss about them.  Ask them to call you, so that you can set up a time to meet or to have that longer conversation at that time.  Rather than a note, you could just pick up the phone and make a call or text or email.  The idea is to reach out and reconnect to those who bring joy into your life.  We don’t know what goes on in the lives of others.  Our very reconnection could be the lifeline that brings a light into that person’s life, who maybe was feeling down about something that happened.  That’s the point.  That’s why it’s important to act on it, rather than sit on it.

In changing a few things, the winter months could fly by.  Are you noticing that the days are getting a little longer, ever so slightly, a minute longer every day?  Pretty soon, we’ll see a robin or the first bud on a tree that’s been dormant.  In the meantime, we, as humans, must look for the buds and sunlight within us and know that Spring is coming!


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