As winter takes its grip and we feel the need to hibernate, consider the opportunity to move your attention positively inwards at this time of year.
For many of us, summer is all about fun in the sun, travelling, partying and living the high life. So when the seasons turn colder, we are often tempted to pull the covers over our head and hunker down until spring.
But amidst such winter woes is an abundance of possibility - we just need to be willing to see it and live it. Winter is the perfect season for cultivating a mindful way of living, and when tuned in, we are able to truly appreciate this time of year. Here are my top 8 tips for a mindful winter season:
1. Celebrate the Season (of Change)
It all starts with a positive attitude. We often don’t realise how much our mood and approach to the day can set a tone for how we act and appreciate our experiences.
Cultivating a notion of celebration for the seasonal change allows us to appreciate the here and now. It’s easy to think that winter is all about the cold, rainy, grey and wet weather, but it can also be about holiday times, family get-togethers, crisp landscapes, an invigorating freshness in the air and a chance to change up our patterns and routines.
It’s often said that when the weather turns colder, we can either complain about it, or grab our favourite coat and enjoy the day. Remember, if you change the way look at things, the things you look at change.
2. Slow Down
Throughout the year many of us spend our days running from one thing to the next, often trying to multitask and subsequently struggling to find our focus. It’s easier said than done, but the practice of slowing down is one of the best ways to bring modern mindfulness into your everyday life. Here’s a few of my favourite ways to slow down mindfully:
- Long lunches
- Longer walks
- Go to bed early
- Sleep in late
- Read more
- Listen more
- Indulge in something you love
3. Enjoy the Company of Others
For many of us, winter can conjure feelings of isolation and alone time. We can easily lack motivation, stay inside, keep to ourselves and bury our heads under blankets, duvets and bed pillows.
But one of the most enriching ways to celebrate winter is to make time for friends. Taking time to enjoy the company of others is so healthy for the mind, body and spirit.
So get together with friends, laugh, be merry, have fun, and live a little. The power of people together is one of the best ways to live in the moment and enjoy life to the fullest.
4. Get Outside
When it’s chilly, often our gut instinct is to stay inside, when we have a winter wonderland right at our finger tips. It’s so easy to take things for granted that are right in front of us every day, but this winter get moving and take on the great outdoors.
The power and beauty of mother nature is both soothing and humbling, so grab your warmest coat and thickest socks and venture outside. Watch the leaves change and jump in the puddles. With this positive approach, the clean, crisp cool air is guaranteed to brighten, energise and invigorate the body and mind.
5. Be Grateful
Winter is the season of giving, but don’t forget the importance of receiving, with grace and gratitude. Take a moment of reflection each day to appreciate all that has happen to you and for you.
Life is a precious thing, so make sure you stop and take time to acknowledge it. There’s no better time than winter to count your blessings and appreciate everything positive in your life.
6. The Gift of Presence
It’s hard to disassociate the winter season from a season of giving, with its big calendar events such as Christmas and Valentine's Day. However, rather than thinking about the presents you need to give and the ones you wished you'd received, consider how much you and your loved ones would appreciate your time and attention.
The greatest gift we should give is our presence. Let this be yours this year.
7. New Year, Same Me
When winter rolls around, all too often our mind jumps to new year resolutions. But wait!
Instead of putting pressure on your ‘New Year, New You’ strategy, try to bring your focus on the right here, right now. Embrace every moment as it happens.
8. Get Quiet
Let the winter months breed a sense of quiet composure. It’s important to celebrate and enjoy moments with friends & family, but also take some time to get quiet and enjoy space and stillness, whatever that means to you.
Read a long book, take a long walk, turn off your phone before dinner, spend some quality time alone. Give yourself the chance to re-centre and just focus on you.
Never take for the granted the beneficial qualities of sometimes talking less, doing less and enjoying time with the volume turned down.
Whatever you do this winter, make sure you take time to step into a more mindful way of living, acting and enjoying. Life is meant to be lived, so let's not waste this season waiting for warmer days. Let the cool climate act as a refreshing reminder for us all to be a little more mindful each and every day.
@michaeljameswong | michaeljameswong.com | justbreatheproject.com
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