Those Winter Blues Won’t Get the Best of Me This Year
Real talk: I shut down in the winter. When I lived in NYC, I’d become a hermit that hardly left Brooklyn and would isolate myself from friends and social gatherings. As the temperature drops and the days grow shorter, I have to actively CHOOSE to silence my inner critic. The voice that tells me I'm weak, stiff, uncoordinated, and just not good enough seemed to get ten times louder in the dark, cold months, and it brought me to tears. Every. Single. Year. Yet sure enough, at the first sign of sunshine and warm weather, I’m OUT THE DOOR, beaming with happiness, confidence, creativity, making all the plans, being a social freakin’ butterfly.
While I half-jokingly say, ‘I sorta die in the winter’, it is pretty accurate. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing that I, and many others, experience. It was one of the many reasons I was drawn to Austin - with the milder winters, and so many outdoor activities to enjoy, I felt this would help me better manage my winter blues and not peace out for an entire season.
While there are a number of methods you can try to help with your winter blues (i.e. Vitamin D supplements, light therapy, meditation, and journaling), I’ve learned that NOTHING works quite as well as some good ol’ ecotherapy (a.k.a.the great outdoors) combined with good company.
For me, getting outside with awesome people is some of the best ‘free medicine’ there is. *Shoutout to my friend Carly (@frolicandflow) who got me hooked on this free medicine mindset.
This year, I refuse to let winter weather keep me from exploring, hiking, exercising outdoors, and enjoying time with the humans I love. So, I’m getting bundled up for the season ahead, and thanks to Backcountry, I’m actually excited for all of the adventures we have planned this winter!
3 Things I’m Actively Doing to Manage My Winter Blues
1. Dress Functionally for the Season
It sounds so silly, but I think I used to prioritize style over being genuinely warm back when I lived in NYC. Quite frankly, investing in outdoorsy winter clothing actually inspires me to keep moving all year round and to not let climate get in the way of doing the things I love. Backcountry is my go-to trusted retailer for all things actively outdoors. From hiking boots to winter performance gear, they carry my absolute favorite sustainable and ethical outdoorsy brands like Patagonia, Fjall Raven, and Sorel… just to name a few!
2. Plan Ahead with Exciting Outdoor Adventures
I find when I actively plan new adventures, it helps me stay motivated, excited, and more social in the winter time. Andrew and I even wrote a winter bucket list of things we want to do in Austin this season. By making plans, adding it to our calendar, and bundling up for the adventure, we’re putting in the effort to make it happen. It gives us something to look forward to because it’s too easy to just stay holed up in your apartment watching Netflix all winter long when you have no real plans. Setting aside time for activities that make you feel great ARE a priority for your wellbeing.
3. Host cozy get-togethers
I’m new to town, but I’ve already hosted a girls night at my place and have attended several friendly dinner gatherings with new friends I’ve made here. Hosting get-togethers is such a wonderful way to unwind and expand your deeper connections. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated - just invite a few friends over, everyone brings a warm dish, and simply enjoy the cozy company! It doesn’t get much better than that.
Peep this rad drone footage Andrew created of me exploring Mt. Bonnell in Austin. All decked out in my favorite Backcountry gear:
We have to make a choice. Create your own sunshine for you and for those around you and keep moving forward. If you can't do it alone, ask someone to help you get there. It’s up to you. It's funny how a warm, sunny day can amplify the strength we've always possessed, but that doesn’t mean we have to lose ourselves in winter. This year, I'm taking my body back from hibernation. Who's with me?