Looking outside the window, the ground is covered with snow, mixed with leaves.  The calendar says November 15th, yet the weather, with record-breaking cold at 4 degrees this week says winter.  I am already done with the cold! The cold weather creates such a distraction in my mind if I am not careful.  It can become a negative rumination, “I hate this, I hate this, I hate this.”  How can including more fun in  life counterbalance the cold-weather distraction? How can fun as a self-care practice help when circumstances are outside our control? I have discovered four ways this week that might interest you:

Give yourself grace and rest

Realize cold weather does impact your mind and body.  You may crave carbohydrates as a way to store energy.  You may find yourself needing more rest.  Or feeling more sad.  Pay attention to your body and what it may need. Give yourself grace and rest as a way of fun and gentleness.

Grace is unmerited favor and when the weather is not conducive to getting outside, give yourself permission to enjoy sitting by the fire, enjoying a warm cup of tea or resting by reading a good book.  You may need to move slower with the colder weather or sleep longer and that’s okay.

Or you may need to change your routine to allow for grace and rest.  Look for pockets of grace in your day where you give yourself permission to be kind to yourself, especially if cold weather feels harsh to you.  If not, get out and embrace it.  Whatever you need to feel positive under the weather’s cold blast.

If you find yourself sad over a longer period of time, you may want to talk to your doctor about Seasonal Affect Disorder or SAD.  He can give you insight into symptoms and helps.  For me, I do 30 minutes of light box therapy every morning to fight SAD.

Make a list of fun things

After feeling more rested, take a sheet of paper and start listing fun things you like to do.  What are enjoyable things to do in a short time?  What about things that take longer?  Things to do by yourself?  With someone else?

As you create your list, notice your reaction to the list.  Are you excited?  Feel like you have no time for it?  Remember you are worth it.  Laughter releases “feel good” chemicals into your body and the high stress cortisone that you may be feeling because of the cold weather is reduced.

Here are a few things to help you start your list of Fun Break Ideas.  What can you add?

  1. Read a chapter or two in a good book
  2. Take a bubble bath
  3. Enjoy a cup of tea or warm coffee by the fire
  4. Set up a card table and start a jigsaw puzzle
  5. Find a few more missing relatives on your genealogy tree
  6. Watch a comedy clip on You Tube
  7. Color an adult coloring page
  8. Visit a nearby art museum to enjoy the beauty
  9. Set up a visit with a friend

When I am feeling distracted by the weather, I can get into a “poor me” frame of mind.  By having a ready-made list to choose from, I don’t have to think up something to turn to for fun.  Fun is not my automatic self-care strategy.  I don’t “deserve” fun.  Therefore, it becomes even more important for me to be intentional in choosing fun things to rev up my “feel good” chemicals in my body and mind.

Find people

The other thing about cold weather is how many people agonize over it, myself included.  Most people you meet have a complaint about the unusual cold weather.  You have to decide ahead of time how you can let that agony bounce off of you, instead of internalizing it.

Find people who want to reverse the cold-weather distraction like you do, like an accountability buddy.  Agree to not talk about the cold weather when you get together, or how to talk about it.  Share your personal lists of fun things to do with each other.  Determine which items you will do in the following month so that each of you can agree to be intentional about having fun and not let the cold weather distract you.

My friend and I determined that self care during cold weather would be the frame of our discussions.  We want to encourage each other how to embrace the cold and enjoy it, since it looks like we are in for five months to six months of it, instead of four to five months. We both agreed staying in the day and enjoying the day was the right approach.

Pray with and for each other

Asking God to help you be intentional with fun and praise can be an important step, too.  Having His eyes to see the world and His creation takes away the sting of the cold weather and makes it less of a distraction.

You can be glad that you have the day and find things in which to be grateful and notice beauty.  Keeping the weather from distracting you by being grateful is a fun way to be fully present each day.  Being grateful keeps a smile on your face.  What is better than that?

What about you?

How do you feel about early winter?  Or the changes that are occurring globally with the weather?  Can fun and prayers of gratitude reduce the cold-weather distraction and make a difference in how you intentionally live each day?

What practices can you incorporate in your day to keep from letting the cold weather distract and pull you into a negative spiral?

I do realize that some of you embrace the cold and I congratulate you.  Share that enthusiasm with everyone you meet!

Choose at least one practice with which to experiment.  Let me know how it helped you.   We can have fun and not be distracted by the cold of winter…  I am praying for you!

Nancy Booth wants to create safe spaces for you, helping you find ways to have two-way conversations with God.  She loves encouraging you to look for ways He is at work. Nancy is a spiritual director and writer.  She would love to accompany you on your journey of discovery to hear and see more of the God who delights in you.  Peace, hope and freedom could be yours Contact her today..