If you can feel your mood plummeting and you are tired of winter already, you can you only see the dark, the cold, the rain, gloom and doom and can’t wait for it to be over, you’re in the right place I’m going to tell you how you can make winter much more bearable. And even enjoy it!

In this post I’ll help you reframe how you think about winter so that you could enjoy it more and not wish your life away – and how doing this can help with any challenge you face in life.

Talking specifically about winter for a moment, some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder, low mood associated with the shorter days and longer nights and this used to be thought that this had a purely biologicals basis but it’s been found now in recent research that how you mentally frame events, your perception and outlook, can really influence the way you’re affected by them.

People who see stressful events as “challenges”, with an opportunity to learn and adapt, tend to cope much better than those who focus more on the negative possibilities,  such as failure, embarrassment or illness.

People who see stressful events as “challenges”, with an opportunity to learn and adapt, tend to cope much better than those who focus more on the negative possibilities,  such as failure, embarrassment or illness. Or in the case of winter, cold, dark, rain etc.

This difference in mindset not only influence people’s mood, but also their bodies with things such as changes in blood pressure and heart rate.

To test whether a difference in outlook could also explain the resilience of Norwegian people living in Tromsø’s Kari Leibowitz, a researcher from Stanford University, designed a “wintertime mindset scale”, which asked participants to rate how much they agreed or disagreed with statements such as:

  • There are many things to enjoy about the winter
  • I love the cosiness of the winter months
  • Winter brings many wonderful seasonal changes

And

  • Winter is boring
  • Winter is a hard time of year
  • I find the winter months dark and depressing

She found that the answers to these questions predicted how well individuals would cope with winter, their levels of life satisfaction and even their overall mental health.

People who embraced the possibility of skiing or hiking in the mountains, snuggling under blankets with a warm drink in the candlelight actually flourished in the long polar nights.

She thinks that many other people could follow suit. “Most people don’t realise that their beliefs about winter are subjective. They feel like they’re just someone who hates the winter and there’s nothing they can do about it… But once you put it in people’s heads that different mindsets exist, and that you have control over your mindset, –that’s tremendously powerful.”

Bad things – setbacks, bad events – can happen to anyone, but it is up to us how we interpret them.

Bad things – setbacks, bad events – can happen to anyone, but it is up to us how we interpret them.

But  our assessment of whether an event feels like a threat, or an opportunity, will depend on what’s going on in our lives and our resources to handle the problems we encounter. But how “bad” an event is partly down to how we see that event. We can think it worse, by focusing on the negative’s about the situation, ourselves or other people.

It’s possible to change our minds about an event or situation consciously.  Alison Wood Brooks, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, asked participants to face their fears of public speaking. Brooks found that simply asking the participants to repeat the phrase “I am excited” helped to reduce their anxious feelings and led to a better overall performance, since it encouraged them to view the situation as a new challenge rather than a threat. The emotions of fear and excitement are so close together that it can be a simple switch to change the feeling from one of fear to excitement and anticipation.

Maybe we could apply this to the challenges we face during the pandemic.  I’m not saying you should go around shouting ‘I’m excited’ but maybe reframing it to ‘This too shall pass’, or I’m doing what I have to do for the greater good’ may help.

Remember you are not alone.  Other people are going through the same or similar things as you.  You might want to see how other people are coping and if there is anything you can learn from them.

Focus on improvement .  Winter – and the pandemic – will end one day.  

Focus on improvement .  Winter – and the pandemic – will end one day.

Try to focus on positive outcomes.  What can you do while you are stuck at home either from bad weather or the pandemic? Sort some cupboards, get in touch with old friends you haven’t spoken to for a while, catch up on your reading?  Try to see the opportunities to learn and grow, no matter how small they appear to be.

Norwegians have a saying that “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing,” so maybe buy some thermals, bundle up and grab any break in the weather to get out and enjoy nature.

So see if you can begin to think differently about winter now and maybe apply the same principles to other challenges in your life to see if you can reframe them and make life a little bit easier for yourself.

If you’d like more this then why not contact me and book a discovery session to find out how I can help you if you’re struggling with anxiety or overwhelm, you lack confidence or suffer from procrastination, or anything else is holding you back, then don’t struggle alone, let’s talk about how I can help.