Positive Psychology + The Winter Blahs

How do you elevate your mindset when endless closures, gray skies, and even a rare polar vortex try to bring you down?
Christi Hegstad February 20th, 2019

From family members to clients to the voice inside my own head, it seems many of us are experiencing some form of the ‘winter blahs’ lately. If you’ve had enough of the polar vortex (or whatever the season might look like for you) and your go-to tricks no longer seem to work, I wrote this article for you, my friend.

I wrote it bundled up in multiple layers, drinking hot coffee, and typing right next to the fireplace, but I digress.

Woman in woollen socks by the fireplace. Unrecognisable relaxes by warm fire with a cup of hot drink and interesting book, warming up her feet. Cozy atmosphere. Winter and Christmas holidays concept.

Most of us know the physical basics for feeling our best: Eat nutrient-rich foods, move your body, get plenty of rest. But what about caring for your mindset (which, by the way, also impacts your physical self)?

In his outstanding book, Flourish, Dr. Martin Seligman – often referred to as the founding father of positive psychology – discusses the PERMA theory for well-being. Essentially, PERMA represents five evidence-based elements for a flourishing life, including:

P = Positive Emotion
E = Engagement
R = Relationships
M = Meaning
A = Achievement
With that foundation, here are a few ideas to prompt your own Flourishing February:
1. Engage in a hobby.
What activity makes you lose track of time and feel strong or fulfilled afterwards? Maybe painting, planning retreats, organizing cupboards, designing homes, or writing blogs to uplift humanity? Dedicate intentional time to something flow-inducing.
2. Schedule a fun-tivity.
Whether a week-long family vacation or an afternoon browsing local museums and bookstores, schedule something to look forward to on your calendar. You’ll get positivity boosts thinking about it, planning for it, experiencing it, and later, reminiscing about it.
Lachende Sonne
3. Set a meaningful goal.
The best goals will challenge and inspire you while also connecting to something personally meaningful. Even if ‘traditional’ goal-setting doesn’t light you up, as humans, we thrive when we are engaged in a purposeful pursuit. Set a Bold Goal and/or a few short-term goals and see how you grow.
4. Start (or re-start) a Success Journal.
Once a day for the next month, jot down a win you experienced that day. Big or small, personal or professional, planned or unexpected – any of the above. You will soon have a nice track record of your success to boost yourself up, as well as a list of clues into your passions, purpose, and values.
5. Connect with a ‘lifter’.
You may have some people in your life who deplete your energy, however you also likely know ‘lifters’ – those who inspire you, encourage you, or simply leave you feeling better just by spending time with them. Invite your mentor for coffee, schedule an extra meeting with your coach, plan a lunch date with that business colleague who shares such interesting ideas, or engage the support of a therapist or counselor.
gehweg im winter 3
It always seems easier to solve someone else’s problems than our own, doesn’t it? So let me ask you this:
If your child or closest friend said they were experiencing cabin fever or the winter blahs and asked your advice, how would you counsel them? What suggestions would you share?
Turn those suggestions on yourself and you will probably have a personalized remedy to try out yourself, too! And not only will they prove helpful with the winter blahs, they’ll probably serve you any time you feel a dip in motivation. I’d love to hear those ideas – feel free to share them on Instagram or Facebook. Let’s turn that blah into awe!
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