As a teenager, I would strum my guitar
and play folks songs for hours. One of my favorites was: "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine." I knew all the verses and loved to sing them over and over. This song evoked something hopeful in me - affirming that I had something bright and unique to share. "All over the world; right here, right now."
It's early December -- the darkest time of the year. The days are short and chilly. Snow has blanketed the Berkshires, and winter is settling in. Friends and clients have shared that this is a challenging time - they're feeling down. They want to huddle under the covers and stay there until spring returns. They're turning on their light boxes - hoping that this will provide a much-needed boost.
If you're looking to brighten up, here are some action steps to notch up your mood during these gloomy days:
As a coach, it's my experience that there's almost always something that you can do to get past your fear and resistance. If you're ready to break through, here are three steps to help you get over, under or around those barriers:
Rekindle your 'joy of movement'
My fitness trainer, Joanna Ezinga, provided one of the most precious gifts received over the past year. She reminded me of how exhilarating it can be to get out and move my body - even when it's gray and frosty!
As a child, I loved to play outside. I grew up in Canada, where winter arrived in early November and lingered until April. I loved tobogganing and sledding. My friends and I built snow castles, snowmen, and hurled snowballs. On weekends, we congregated at the local rink, where we energetically skated around and around for hours. As adolescence arrived, outdoor frolicking went out of fashion. I retreated indoors, preferring to appreciate nature from the inside looking out, and so it remained, until recently.
My work with Joanna has awakened my long dormant love of playing outside. Each time I venture out, there is always something interesting to discover. I recently donned my parka and went for an afternoon stroll. I was rewarded when, in the midst of the gloom, a heron, glided gracefully and slowly overhead. What a magical moment that was!
If you're ready for an attitudinal adjustment, bundle up and head outside. Even if you don't feel like it initially - you'll return feeling warm and exhilarated!
De-light in the season - get cozy
When I first moved to the Berkshires from New York City, I bemoaned the arrival of winter and counted the days until it would be over. It was an ordeal that I just had to grin and bear. One day I shared these sentiments with Mrs. Benson, our landlord, who lived in Utah. She was shocked! Winter - she proclaimed - was her favorite season of the year! It was a time to get cozy - to catch up on reading, correspondence, to put her photos in order - activities that were hard to find time for once the weather got warmer. I polled several native Berkshire-ites and found out that winter was also their favorite season.
Although I haven't had a conversion experience - I have come to appreciate winter more. It's the perfect time to experience the pleasure of snuggling in with a good book, watching an old movie, or working on a challenging puzzle. The weather outside may be frightful - but inside there's a warm and delightful world for you to enjoy!
Share your light
Despite all the celebrating at this time of year, it's easy to feel lonely, especially if you don't connect with the Hanukkah/Christmas hoopla. If that's your situation, it may be time to create some rituals of your own. Why not reach out and connect with those who you care about or would like to know better?
Let your little light shine! As you share your smile, warmth and caring, your world will brighten up too!
"It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness" - Chinese Proverb