While our Northern Hemisphere cousins bask in summer sun, those of us in the Southern Hemisphere are enjoying the delights of Winter – crisp days, cosy fires, warm hats, football, and snuggling up in bed at night. At this time of year in my suburb, winter-time is all about keeping warm.
While staying ‘toasty’ is the name-of-the-game for most of us, spiralling energy costs do make you think twice before firing up the gas or electric heater. So, what are some ways to keep snug, without breaking the bank? Obvious solutions include, layering up your clothing, having hot soups or drinks, and nestling down under a thick warm blanket or doona. There are also other not-so-obvious helpful things you can do – some of which may seem at first glance to be a bit out in left-field.
● Keep up social interaction.
In their report titled “Cold and lonely” Chen-Bo Zhong and Geoffrey Leonardelli of the University of Toronto, found that going into hibernation mode during winter months is not good for your mental or physical state. It can lead to feelings of social exclusion, which in turn make you feel colder. The answer to this seems fairly straight forward. If you want to keep the cold at bay, boost your mood. Get out and about. Spend time with people.
TIP: Make the effort to interact with others. Apparently, it’s a good way to “turn up” your warmth factor. One way of doing this could be to meet up with others at church.
● Fill your thoughts with sunshine.
Many people go to work and return home in darkness. Less hours of daylight and lower temperatures may lead to what experts call ‘‘winter depression’’. However, there is a way to beat gloomy, wintery-type thoughts. A song from the musical Hair, proposes a simple way to do this. It says, “Let the sunshine in”.
‘Letting in’ sunny, cheery thoughts is an action that doesn’t rely on blue skies. It’s possible to activate warm and happy thinking at any time day or night, and in any season. The benefits of doing this are illustrated in the true story of a small bird that was mistakenly shut inside a linen cupboard. Although a bird doesn’t usually sing when it’s dark, this one did. As a result, it was found and set free. This is a cue for us to take mental action whenever we feel trapped by the winter blues .
TIP: Find freedom from melancholy emotions on overcast days, by letting the sun of cheerfulness in to shine brightly. Let rays of heart-warming, positive thoughts glow in your thinking. Bathe your mind in their heat-generating light.
● Stay positive. Expect to be healthy and well.
Nothing gives you the shivers more than thinking that you might become ill. That’s why when cold and rainy weather arrives, so too can the fear of catching a seasonal sickness. One way to antidote this unhealthy mental state, is to warm up your thinking with health-sustaining, positive ideas .
According to the staff of the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, “Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include: Increased life span, lower rates of depression, lower levels of distress, greater resistance to the common cold.”
Tip: Think about enacting a wellness-plan to keep your thinking healthy and warm-as-toast during the winter season. Be confident of maintaining good health. Keep the fear of seasonal sickness out of thought. Don’t anticipate illness during colder months. Consider including spiritual ideas to help bolster your mental stance. Meditation or prayer, coupled with a positive state of mind, have been proven to help people keep well all year round.
● Kindle an inner glow.
Keeping mentally warm starts from the inside. Translated, this means that any spark of warmth should be ignited by the heart, as well as the mind.
TIP: Melt any icy stares or cold thoughts toward someone else. Radiate goodness through acts of kindness. Fan heartfelt feelings for others, until they warm the cockles of your heart. Be friendly. Be neighbourly. Such expressions of humanity can not only help keep you warm in Winter, they can help others feel warmer too.
This article also appeared in the Around Point Cook Community Newspaper and on The Wellness Wire - an Internet daily inspired to help forward lifestyles of health, happiness, and longevity, and a peaceful, just, sustainable world.