Beating the Winter Blues with Memorial University

A Memorial University student shares her advice on how to combat the winter blues.

 Beating the Winter Blues with Memorial University

This article was written by Megan Smith, a Memorial University student.

“New year, new me.”

Those four words are thrown around every January, bringing with them lofty expectations of complete self-reinvention within 365 days. But, according to Time magazine, 80% of people who follow the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions wind up quitting by the end of the month.

If you’re one of those 80%, your first instinct might be to put all the blame on yourself, but that simply isn’t true. We don’t exist in a vacuum — our lives and experiences are shaped by a billion different factors. So, I’d like to propose a different kind of resolution: one that doesn’t shame us for what we’re not, but celebrates what we are.

Dwindling morale

Whether you love the season or hate it, there’s no denying that winter is a harsh time of year.

As the bright holiday sights and sounds fade into memory, we become more focused on traversing icy terrain and digging out our homes and vehicles or, in more recent years, struggling to reconcile the mild, messy weather with the romantic winters of our childhood. Either way, this bleak landscape is enough to demoralize anyone — it’s no surprise that Blue Monday, allegedly the most depressing day of the year, falls in January.

For many, without the heat of summer or the excitement of festivities, morale starts to dwindle. People start turning an overly critical eye inward at their flaws. But, as outdoor conditions force us inside, we’re granted time for reflection.

If we find ourselves with the space to look inward, instead of singling out the bad, we should account for what we like about ourselves. After all, an entirely “new me” is an unrealistic goal, especially if there are aspects of ourselves we already like!

You don’t need to become a new person in such a short time, and in striving to reach that ideal against the cold, depressing backdrop of the season, you might forget what already makes you shine. Wanting to shoot for a self-improvement goal isn’t a bad thing: a healthier life — physically, mentally or otherwise — is a rewarding goal to set. But if we don’t stick the landing, especially in the gloomy winter months, it helps to have a cushion of self-forgiveness to fall back on so we can rest up, regroup and get back on our feet.

Use your momentum

Life should be a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s better to take the slow, steady, kind route rather than rush to waste any momentum we had.

So go ahead, set your goals and do what you can to stick to them, but make sure to take stock of what you already have and treat yourself kindly.

And always remember: winter doesn’t last forever, and warmer, brighter times are always just around the corner.

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