Tis the season of Hibernation

Tis the season of Hibernation

Do you feel like your hibernating this winter? I must admit, part of me wishes I could be a bear, fall into a deep comfortable sleep, and not come out until spring time. These cold winter days have me wanting to stay in bed under the warm covers with a cup of tea and snuggle with my puppies for the next four months. However, the other part of me is screaming, “don’t you dare even think about doing that!  You will regret it and will feel awful about yourself come spring time”.    And so with that self-scolding I shiver and forge ahead.

I experience this inner conflict every winter. Through the years I have learned that not giving into the urge to hibernate is critical in helping me to be successful, achieve my goals, regulate my mood, and enjoy the winter months. Every year I set new resolutions/ goals for myself and start off strong for the first two weeks.  But by January 15th the struggle becomes real, and I don’t have the energy to attack all the things I set out to do on January 1.  Through hard work and experience I’ve identified a few things that really help me stay strong, remain motivated, and help me to be successful without pushing myself to my limits.

The first thing is to have well rounded and realistic expectations for yourself when setting your goals. Set goals for all aspects of your life so that you can work on different things that go with different moods, seasons, and energy levels. For example, you’re not going to exercise all 365 days this year. But 3-4 days a week is doable.  You also might not have the energy to work out after a 12-hour work day, but you can listen to an audiobook or meditate for 20 minutes before bed.

Take care of your body. One of the most important things you can do for yourself to endure your success is yo take care of your basic needs. Making sure you get enough sleep each night, drink enough water, and get enough vitamins  — either from your diet or a supplement  — make a huge difference in performance, energy, mood regulation and clarity of thinking. In the winter, I also increase the vitamins I take to include D and B12 because I notice a significant difference in my body when I do not get enough natural sunlight. Be aware of your body and what it needs, check with your doctor, and take care of you.

Create a practical schedule that works for you and your family. We all wish there were more hours in the day, but unfortunately we only have 24 to work with.  The key is to remove the unnecessary items that steal our time and replace them with things that truly matter. For me this means limiting and even eliminating the time I spend scrolling facebook, Instagram and pintrest and filling the new found time slots with the little things that I never seem to get around too.

Recognize gratitude. This may seem silly, especially to a lot of teens. But- studies show that recognizing what we are grateful for — whether  it be something very minor or something major in our lives — will increase our overall happiness and success levels. Try tracking one thing you are grateful for each day on the notes app on your phone or write it down in your planner. If anything, this will be something really nice to reflect on at the end of each month!

So, no matter how tempting it might be to hibernate this winter, I challenge you to resist.   I promise, you won’t regret it!