We are in the bleak midwinter in Minnesota. The air temperature outside has been in the single digits (Fahrenheit). Personally, I’ve been dealing with additional losses: more MS -induced disability and the death of our dog, Cocoa, who kept me company for 15 years. It’s no wonder I’ve been feeling lonely and disheartened. Happily, I can take action to overcome these midwinter blahs, especially since this month’s kind promise is to practice joy for no apparent reason.
Here are five ways I’m practicing joyful connection:
- work with the calendar – if I have email check-ins, visits, calls, events or outings to look forward to, it’s easier to get through the lean times. When I’m feeling lonesome, it helps to look ahead on the calendar.
- invite others to visit – want company? Invite some! No big productions are necessary. As long as I’m interested in what others are doing, they are ready to sit and chat over a cup of tea.
- take a virtual trip – even if I can’t get out, I can see the world virtually. Today I visited Madagascar.
- make a call – email and social media are not as connecting as a phone call. Reach out and say hi.
- get your body moving – part of what makes for doldrums in the winter is lack of physical activity. Put on some music and dance.
- Celebrate (bonus item) – manufacture reasons to be joyful. Try celebrating fun holidays, for example.
Noticing how I’m feeling, I can take responsibility for sculpting the causes and conditions that affect my mood.
Winter can be a time for snuggling in and appreciating the warmth that comes with the luxuries of central heating and hot drinks. At the same time, I need to avoid the tendency to isolate that comes with cold and icy weather.