7 Happy Rituals for the Short Days of Winter
Each year, when we turn the clocks back, I am torn.
by Christine Kane
On the one hand, I'm elated to get some extra sleep and "gain" an hour. On the other hand, it's a little sad to know that winter is coming, and the days are getting shorter.
A few years ago, I noticed that I was rolling with the change of season much more gracefully – and without the same dread I had often felt. It was around that time I learned to create rituals in my days. Seasons, after all, show us what our lives are meant to be: dark times, light times, expansion, contraction, and of course… change!
If you are experiencing anxiety or sadness as winter approaches and the days get shorter, I invite you to try one or two of these rituals. Maybe you'll start to look forward to the earlier evenings as you see the mystery and magic of this beautiful season…
1 - Create a Glow
The great thing about darker evenings is that they allow for the perfect candle lighting ritual. Create a sacred space in your home and light candles at dusk or when you get home from work.
Some of my favorite candles are antique medicine bottles I've picked up at various flea markets over the years. I fill them with candle oil and wicks. The glass reflects the flame for even more glow! I'm always on the look out for simple candles and holders. (A quick resource for all kinds of candles is TJ Maxx.)
2 - Start a Gratitude Journal
It's the season of Thanksgiving, so why not begin the habit of gratitude now, rather than waiting til the end of the month?
Get a beautiful journal and commit to completing your day with gratitude. Start with a list of five things. Write in as much detail as you can.
We live in such lavish abundance, yet it's so easy to speed through the days without noticing. A gratitude journal will change your life!
3 - Feed the Birds
Wake up to bird song!
One of my favorite rituals is to make sure that the bird feeders are chock full of the best seed possible. Our feeders always have visitors, so we keep a guide to birds near our back door so we can grab it any time we spot a new species. We have regular visits from nuthatches, chickadees, flickers, titmouse, all kinds of woodpeckers, Carolina wrens, bluejays – we've even seen rare birds, like the hooded warbler. Spend some blissful time witnessing the pure joy of our feathered friends! (A great resource for bird-feeders is Wild Birds Unlimited.)
4 - Catch Up on Movies
Winter is a great time to catch up on those movies you missed in the theaters. I keep a list in my iPhone, and any time someone recommends a movie, I take note. That way, when I get to the video store, I have a reference. You can also get great television show seasons on Netflix.
5 - Morning Work-Outs
When the clocks turn back, the mornings get lighter. Why not take advantage and wake up earlier to hit the gym? Start a fitness ritual. Exercise has been proven - over and over again! - to remedy everything from disease to depression. Hire a trainer for a month and learn some new exercises! The fitness habit will lift your mood like nothing else!
6 - Complete a Project
Remember that idea you had for a scrapbook? Or that language learning series you've been meaning to plunge into? Well, now's the time!
Winter is a perfect time to learn a new craft, create something meaningful, and get lost in the joy of a new project. Winter is also the time to go inward and lose yourself in creating. What have you been meaning to create?
7 - Get Out!
Any dog will tell you: Winter is a fabulous time to hike! It's cold. It's crisp. You bundle up in layers of polar fleece. And you get to experience the hidden treasures of a season that most people avoid.
Make it a point to find some trails or paths near your home. Then, commit to bundling up and spending time outdoors each weekend. There's rarely anyone else out - so you get to have acres and acres to yourself. (Though you might bump into me and my dog! It's our favorite hiking season!)
Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her 'LiveCreative' weekly ezine with more than 4,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at www.christinekane.com.