February: It's frigid, the days are short, and the post-holiday glow has faded. Getting resettled in the humdrum and trying to stick to (sometimes) unrealistic New Year's resolutions can leave you feeling dispirited. Rather than thinking of February as a bleak, monthlong drag, look to it as the brightest of months -- it is, after all, not your circumstances, but rather your perception that holds all the power.
1. Think Positively
When you regain the power of positive thought, your outlook will undoubtedly be bright. It can be easy to get bogged down by tough situations. Rather than extracting their negativity, consciously think thoughts of gratitude, optimism, and kindness. You'll be amazed at what a good attitude can do.
Now, more than ever, people seem to give less importance to sitting alone and listening to their heart, body, and soul. It is something I try and do as often as I can. Zoning in on your thoughts and emotions, and devoting time to give gratitude to yourself, allows you to temporarily escape from the fast pace of life. You'll gain a new perspective and clarity on issues you may be facing, and you'll feel much more prudent and calm when facing the unexpected. The most wonderful thing about meditating is that it's subjective, and anyone can do it. One hour on the treadmill can give you lots of clarity (thank you, endorphins), and a few minutes of reflecting in silence, a session of yoga, or an afternoon cooking in the kitchen can calm your mind. This will allow you to realign your thoughts and brighten your outlook.
3. Eat Colorfully
Lots of colors on your plate not only means well-rounded nutrition, but gives your meals diverse flavors and textures. If you take care to incorporate lots of colors on your plate, you’ll never have to deal with eating the ’same chopped salad’ and being bored with your new healthy 2015 routine. The book I'm using a lot this winter is the new healthy yet exquisite cookbook “Clean Slate.” It's filled with delicious recipes that are made with colorful vegetables and will help you improve your overall health. One of my go-to (and longtime favorite) recipes is a nutritious and easy butternut squash soup. It is a bright, cheery color and will warm you from the inside out, even on the coldest of winter evenings.
4. Get Organized
Being structured and methodical in all aspects of your life is a great way to beat the winter blues. Keeping notes, maintaining an updated calendar and thinking proactively can keep you at ease, especially when juggling lots of elements and activity. When you plan ahead, you also give yourself things to look forward to. It's a good idea to apply this rule to your surroundings as well. Maintaining a clean, orderly work space, home, or apartment becomes increasingly important when you're spending more time inside. February is the perfect time to take on that home-improvement project you've always wanted to do, or to learn a new skill.
After the bustle of Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas parties, and New Year's Eve celebrations, you may find yourself wanting to stay home and watch movies under a thick blanket. Although we all need nights like this, an amazing way to get through the winter blues is to continue to stay busy. And there is no better way to do this than enjoying the company of friends. February is also a great time of year to focus on your health, so don't make drinking the go-to activity; there are plenty of activities that do not require a morning hangover. You can go to the movies, see a new exhibit at your local museum, host a night of board games, or even take a quick ski trip if you live near some snowy peaks. These activities will bond your group of friends together and lift your spirits as you revel in the company of your favorite people.
If you follow these five simple steps and practice them every day, you will no longer perceive February as 28 days of darkness, but as a gleaming, wonderful start to 2015. Here's to winter!