Find simple & practical tips to boost motivation and energy during gloomy Winter months.
As someone who has lived through 32 Winters on the West Coast (Vancouver Island, British Columbia), I’m well aquainted with gloomy Winter months.
Days are filled with the sound of dripping rain and the sky is various shades of grey. Some days – like today – are dark gray. Looking out my window now at 9am feels like it’s nearly bedtime!
Locals are avid weather channel watchers, and we all look forward to the day (usually about 3 weeks away) when the forecast is a “peek of sunshine”. We joke that the reality will probably be fog!;)
Over the years, I’ve learned various tips and tricks from fellow West Coasters (aka “Wet Coasters”) for how to not just survive this dark and dreary season, but to thrive in it, too.
As a sidenote & disclaimer, there is a very real medical condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder that may require medical treatment. If you think you may have it or a form of depression caused by the weather, I urge you to seek medical help. I have no medical background and can offer no advice in that field.
Here are some simple & practical ideas to boost motivation and energy during dreary Winter days.
1. Make your bed right after you get up.
It won’t be as tempting to want to crawl back into it if it’s already made!
2. Get dressed.
If you work from home (like me) or are retired, you may fall into the trap of thinking, “Why bother getting ready? No one will see me anyway.”
I urge you, instead, to consider the act of getting dressed as one of your main priorities of the day. It just might improve your productivity and outlook on life.
A shower can be refreshing and invigorating, as well. Putting on clothes that are comfortable and cute can make you feel more confident. And, for an extra credit bonus, choose a bright colored lipstick or colorful clothes. You may find it helps boost your spirit, too.
3. Tackle your “worst project” first.
My mom used to talk about doing the “worst first” in the day. Meaning, think about the thing you are dreading doing the most, and just do it and get it off your mind. You may discover that the task actually only takes minutes, after you’ve dreaded it for hours – or days!
Accomplishing something will give you a feeling of a “win”, and will often motivate you to want to have more of those in the day.
4. Choose something as your “reward” for specific tasks.
Hear me out on this. The other day, I woke up after a full night’s sleep feeling so tired. I really considered going back to bed after my husband left for work.
Sometimes I do that, and honestly, sometimes it’s the wisest thing for my health to do.
But, that day, I decided that I would give myself permission to go back to bed whenever I wanted, but first, I would have a shower and get ready.
I was shocked at how much better I felt, so I decided to do “one more thing”.
One thing led to another, and I found myself feeling so much joy as I little by little tackled a mental to do list of housework that had been bothering me.
But, I had promised myself my “reward” for all this was a long nap whenever I needed it.
So I worked until noon, and then settled in for my “rewarded” long Winter’s nap. It was delightful.
Choose something that sounds fun to you as your “reward”. It will give you something to look forward to.
5. Plan a sunny destination vacation
If it’s possible, plan your vacation to a sunny destination in the middle of the Winter gloomy months. Not only will the vacation itself be refreshing, the planning of it will add an element of fun anticipation and something to look forward to.
6. Use a “sunshine light”.
I’ve never tried one of these personally, but I have lots of friends who use sunshine light therapy lamps to help promote Vitamen D into their system.
7. Take Vitamen D
Although I’m absolutely not a doctor (so please consult your own doctor for this), it has been recommended to those of us who live in this area to take Vitamen D suppliments. There is statisically not enough sunshine in a year to get our body’s requirement for Vitamen D.
8. Do something to get your body moving
Get active in some way to get the blood flowing and your muscles working. It will improve your outlook on life! Here are some ideas:
- Bundle up for the weather and go for a walk. (I’ve put it on my daily calendar for 10 am.)
- Speed clean your house.
- Turn on a YouTube exercise class and follow along. This 15 minute full body stretching video is what I follow.
- Crank your favorite music and dance in the kitchen.
- Go to the gym or indoor pool.
- Use the exercise equipment you have stored in the guest room.;)
9. Drink water
One of the simplest things I’ve done to improve my overall health is to be conscious of how much water I drink in a day and strive for the recommended amount of water to drink in a day. It’s amazing how much better I feel with that one new little habit!
10. Plan Meals
When the weather is dark and gray, I tend to want to fill up on high calorie comfort food meals. Yes, they seem totally appropriate and cozy during this time of year, but they also tend to not make me feel the best (as I start packing on the pounds!).
Planning meals and even freeze ahead meals help us make better choices in the food department – and helps us as we continue to strive to be as healthy as possible.
11. Turn on the lights!
Add lighting into your home that helps make it feel bright and cheery.
We added in some simple strip above cabinet lighting in our kitchen which helps immensely! Here are some more ideas:
- Add a cute little lamp in the corner of your kitchen.
- String twinkle lights throughout the displays on your shelves and bookcases.
- Add real or remote control candles into tabletop displays.
12.Join an online “challenge” group
As I’m writing this article, it is January and the start of a new year.
I’ve been discovering the most amazing “challenge” courses on topics like “30 Days to an Organized Home” or “7 Day Watercolor Painting Course”.
If you are someone who likes to have help with daily motivation or a group of people to help with accountability, you may want to search on google for something that is of interest to you. It just may give you something new and fun to look forward to every day!
13. Do something creative & learn something new
This will totally differ between people as we all have different ideas of what sounds like fun to us. You can find so many online classes on a whole variety of topics that you can take for free.
When we were all stuck at home, I decided to learn watercolor painting for beginners. I found great joy in following tutorials and videos that I found online and trying something new.
You might find there are courses in your local community where you can learn new things that interest you, too. That would give you an opportunity to also meet some new classmates as you learn something new, too.
Do you have other tips to boost energy on gloomy days?
Maybe some of you struggle with energy on dreary days, too. If so, I’d love if you’d leave your tips for boosting energy and motivation in the comments.
We all love to learn from each other.