Turning Inward During Winter

Written by Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC

If you live in a climate where it gets cold in the winter, you may find yourself spending more time indoors over the coming months. With shorter days and longer, darker nights, many of us are in the position of potentially being more sedentary, and also having more time on our hands at home. So, what do you do with that time? 

Got Time? 

If you have more time on your hands at home, winter is a great opportunity to take advantage of that time in a variety of ways. Many of us often complain that there's simply not enough hours in the day, so if the nights are longer and you're home more in winter, think about how you can use that time to your advantage. 

What To Do?

So, what can you do with the long winter nights?

Here are some ideas: 

Exercise: You're always free to look for ways to exercise, even in the midst of winter. Do you like winter sports? Get out there and ski, snowshoe, or ice skate. Do you have an exercise bike, rowing machine, or weights at home? Create a home exercise program for yourself. Belong to the gym? Go over there on a regular basis. 

Cook healthy foods: Winter can be a great time to make healthy foods like soups, stews, salads, casseroles, and all sorts of dishes made with traditional winter produce like root vegetables and winter greens. Winter eating can be very different from the summer (depending on where you live and how you shop), so think about having fun with winter cooking and new recipes (or old favorites). 

Read and study: The long nights can be a great time to catch up on reading for pleasure or business. You can read a novel, brush up on that foreign language you've always wanted to improve, or peruse your favorite magazines. If you're the studious type, maybe there's a free online course you can take, or perhaps there's a subject you've been dying to research. In terms of diabetes, maybe there are even some new studies you'd like to read about. 

Have fun: Winter doesn't have to be boring. You can have parties and rekindle friendships, play games to improve your memory, renew an interest in a hobby (like jigsaw puzzles, knitting, or drawing), or you can take advantage of the quiet evening hours to do fun home activities with your kids. 

Inward Time Is Healthy Time

Winter can be a more inward time on many levels. Emotionally, it can be a very good time for journaling, making a "Vision Board" about the upcoming new year, writing letters and cards, or doing other "inner work" on yourself. Some people feel that winter is a very spiritual time, and you can use the long, dark nights to reflect on the past year, set goals for the new year, or otherwise take stock of your life. 

Healthy Winter Times

Winter can be about your inner emotional landscape, having fun with home-based hobbies, catching up on reading, writing or other activities. or simply staying warm and healthy during a season when many people get sick with colds and flu. In winter, you may focus on your health, eating well, exercising, sleeping well, and otherwise staying fit. 

No matter how you approach winter, make sure to use it your advantage. Winter is a special time of year, and you can make it even more special by doing things that bring you joy, improved health, better fitness, more togetherness with people you love, and the best quality of life you can muster. 

Enjoy the winter, and use it to make life the sweetest, richest and most satisfying it can be.