Winter Preparation: A Mental Survival Guide

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 I was raised in Florida. So, I never understood the term “winter” until I moved to Oregon this past year. After going through a winter here, I decided it would be nice to compile a list of tips that I am going to use to survive this wonderful time of the year!

1. Light-
·      Tis the season of Daylights Saving time! The clock falls back an hour and you lose sunlight sooner. And if you live in a place like the Pacific Northwest, where the winters are overcast, forget about seeing much light. Studies have shown that some people develop and suffer from issues like Vitamin D deficiency and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year (more often in the winter). I suffered through that last winter season and did not want a repeat! My friends looked upon me with grace and bought me a Happy Light! This Happy Light shoots UV rays at you and gives you that dose of “sunlight” one misses out. If you don’t live in a place like Oregon, make sure you crack open your curtains, and let the sunshine into your home!
2.     A Hobby
·      Fight winter blues or boredom with a fun, creative, and/ or active hobby. Want to start learning an instrument? Jam on, you rockstar you! Wanted to try tie-dying shirts? Get your Martha Stewart on! Keep your brain active, even from inside your house with knitting, model airplanes, watercolors, anything your heart desires! Just don’t make Facebook your “hobby”… Sorry Mark Z.
3.      Get Your Cozy On!
·      What with Jack Frost nipping at your nose and the winter chill creeping below your door, how can one stay toasty? Whip out that Swiss Miss hot cocoa or some apple cider, wrap yourself in a throw blanket, and place your body before a fireplace or a space heater- both work in times of need! If you’re really aiming for that cozy feel, pop in a movie or grab that book that’s been collecting dust ever since you purchased it on whim at Barnes & Nobles. You know the one I’m talking about…
4.     Plenty of Exercise
·      One must resist the temptation to sleep all through the winter months. *ahem* Maybe I should say that I must resist the temptation to sleep all through the winter months. I am pro at shirking my duties at maintaining my physical health. I turn into a hibernating creature- Eat. Eat. Eat. Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Let’s not even get started on the excuses I make not to exercise! “It’s too cold”… Blah. Blah. Blah! Get up and move people! Take a brisk jog and get that blood pumping! Get fit with Jillian Michaels or Billy Blanks! Shake your groove thang while you vacuum/ sweep your home! Just. Move.
5.     Get Out of the House
·      Hey you. Yea, you. The one that is sneaking under the covers in the darkness. I’m going to make this part very clear and very simple. Get out of the house. Whether you’re coming back from work or you are on winter break (for all my teachers out there), get some fresh air and spend time outside of your home that you enjoy. Even if you don’t leave your porch, stand outside and take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale.
6.     Family and Friends
·      The winter time brings all sorts of warm and fluffy feelings what with the holidays. Keep in touch with your family and friends. Host a shindig for your family and/or friends. Bask in the community of your church family. I just encourage you to stay connected with other people. If distance is a problem, pick up the phone and call someone. Send a card. Wake up and smell the technological coffee and hook yourself up with Skype (it is truly wonderful)!
I hope this guide helps you during the winter months!

Lunelle Bertresse has a big heart for working with the young people on this earth. She received her Masters of Social Work in 2011, emphasizing in child and adolescent therapy and advocacy. Lunelle is not working as the Head Girls’ dean at Milo Adventist Academy, enjoying her time working with high school-aged girls. She enjoys reading, playing the guitar and piano, and laughing.


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