Tips for Winter Mindfulness
Most of us who search for and practice mindfulness don’t find ourselves practicing it any more during any one particular season. Still, the cold weather and the physical and mental changes that can come with it do present their own types of challenges. With the obstacles that cold weather can bring to our mindfulness practice and methods, though, come opportunities to learn to better adapt, becoming more mindful in the process. Here are some tips and ideas for cold weather mindfulness.
How Can the Cold Help with Mindfulness?
Yes, it has its challenges, but cold weather can indeed give us new opportunities we don’t find during other times of the year. Especially if we find ourselves indoors more, or doing fewer group activities, we should look at these as opportunities for mindfulness, rather than lost opportunities for something else. Some ways to use the cold and dark weather for mindfulness are:
- The less active we are is an opportunity for increased stillness, and to examine that stillness
- The less engaged we are otherwise is a chance to reflect and look inward; you can engage with your own mind
- Some cultures look at winter as a time of hibernation and a time before rebirth, so this is an opportunity to think about how thing have changed over the year, and what you’d like to keep and let go
What Are Some Winter Mindfulness Exercises?
While any of your normal mindfulness practices can be used – or adapted to be used – during the winter, there are some focused exercises designed to help you through the winter months. The darker the days get, the more sensitive we can be to pressures and stressors, and these exercises can help you hone your mind for these:
- Keeping Cozy: Practicing gratitude and being cozy can be great ways to remain mindful. With intent, make yourself a warm drink, and sit somewhere comfortably for about fifteen minutes. You can do this wherever you like, but if it is some place that helps your gratitude, like a place with a nice view, even better. Think about what you are grateful for in this moment, and appreciate the opportunity to be cozy
- Journaling: This is a nice way to be mentally active while you’re on your own. Getting out your thoughts or even the events of the day is the simplest way to reflect on things you might otherwise forget and be less grateful for
- Nature walk: If you can get into nature, this is a way to get some endorphins while also appreciating the chance to be a part of nature itself
Your Mindfulness Retreat is in Your Mind
Some people like to travel to new places in order to practice mindfulness, but winter is a time to be grateful for what you have, including the chance to retreat where you are. This is all about scheduling the time to be mindful, to meditate, to practice gratitude, or even take that nature walk nearby. Your coziest clothes and most comforting food and drinks can do a lot to help you be mindful.