Do you greet the cold and snowy days of the new year with a smile or a frown?
For those of us who don’t look forward to hitting the slopes or shoveling, here are some unscientific but effective strategies for self-care during the short days and long nights of our northern location.
These suggestions are a mix of staying connected to other people and focusing on making yourself feel special — a balance that makes sense in any season. They don’t cost much to put into action. And they’re easy to do.
Winter offers a great opportunity to be creative. Play with some watercolors, make a collage of beach scenes with old photos or pick out a tune on the piano. Whatever you make will make you feel good.
Enjoy the warmth of the kitchen, the savory smells and the comfort of a hot meal that others will be more than willing to share if you invite them. There are lots of easy soup recipes around, so even the most basic cook can make something delicious.
Cocoon with your blankie
Collect your comforter, a good video series or book, and enjoy a cuddle by yourself or with your lover or friend(s). Don’t forget the hot tea.
Put on your music and dance
C’mon, you still got some moves. And no one is watching but the mirror. Let it all out!
Clean out your junk drawer or closet
At home or work, you have a spot that needs attention. And the new year is a perfect time to address the mess. Pick an area small enough to ensure completion. Oh, the satisfaction!
Even though the holidays are over, it’s still the time to add light. Use candles in your sitting area, or around your hot bath. (Note: Check smoke alarms first.)
Get cut flowers
A few roses maybe, or a lily add a visual and olfactory treat to your living area. Or take some over to a friend’s place or the office to share the pleasure.
Plan a trip
You don’t have to actually go anywhere, as researchers say that anticipating a vacation can be the best part of a travel experience. Pick somewhere fun and plan the details, right down to the luxury hotel. It won’t cost you a cent.
Sit and breathe
Even if you’ve never taken any kind of meditation instruction, it’s a simple pleasure to just sit quietly in a comfortable position, close your eyes for 15 or 20 minutes and just empty your mind.
Set out a jigsaw puzzle
Who can resist a puzzle that’s just difficult enough to be interesting and with a pretty picture to complete? Do it yourself or make it a communal project.
Get in touch with an old pal
Go a step further than Facebook — call or write a dear one, just to say hello. Feel the glow you get from a lasting friendship.
Make a date with beauty
You’re in a city with so many choices. Treat yourself and/or a friend to an art exhibition or concert that will uplift you before, during and after the experience.
Take a walk
If it’s sunny, you owe it to your healthy self to get some rays on your head and take in some natural vitamin D. So get off your train or bus a few blocks ahead of your stop to enjoy the fresh air. Or walk to and from your cozy nest on an errand.
The nice thing about a four-season climate is that there’s always the next one …
How do you take care of yourself in this season? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.
Carol Sadtler is a volunteer with the LGBT Elder Initiative and a communications consultant, writer and editor. The LGBTEI fosters and advocates for services, resources and institutions that are culturally competent, inclusive and responsive to the needs of LGBT older adults. For more information, visit www.lgbtelderinitiative.org or call 215-720-9415.