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How I Plan to Use Microsteps To Embrace the Winter Season

For starters, I'm putting my well-being first.

Prasngkh Ta Kha / EyeEm/ Getty Images
Prasngkh Ta Kha / EyeEm/ Getty Images

How do you feel about the different seasons during the year? Do you tend to embrace the season you’re living in? Or, do you find yourself yearning for brighter days and longer daylight hours?

I enjoy living in a part of the world that has four distinct seasons throughout the year. I live in Canada. Before your mind conjures up images of snow, snow and more snow. I should mention, I live on Vancouver Island, B.C., where we experience mild winters. The climate here is similar to Seattle’s climate. In the winter, we get a lot of rain.

I love that we typically enjoy mild winters. However, the grey clouds and consistent rainfall, can make the last half of winter seem to drag on forever.

I know I’m not alone in wishing winter was a bit shorter, or a tad brighter. In many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, the winter months feel long.

Aside from escaping on a vacation to somewhere warm and sunny, what else can we do? It doesn’t seem right that the only way to move through winter is to hunker down and get through it. There has to be a better way that supports us to fully enjoy the moments we are in – even when dark clouds prevail.

When I came across Thrive Global’s Microstep month, I knew I had my answer.

Arianna Huffington describes Microsteps as: “small, actionable, incremental, and science-backed steps we can take to make immediate changes in our daily lives.”

Everything about Microsteps appeals to my goal-oriented mindset. As an entrepreneur and mom of two sons in competitive sports, I’ve learned the best way to lead a full life I love, is to reverse-engineer the big picture and take one simple step at a time. The one-step-at-a-time approach to living, has helped me let go of the multi-tasking madness that used to leave me feeling overwhelmed and depleted.

In an effort to stop wishing my rainy winter away, I’ve picked 3 key areas for creating small steps that will help me savour the winter pace. Each week, I’ll write about a Microstep I’m implementing from one of the 3 key areas. I’ll share what unfolds over the rest of the winter season.

If you find yourself struggling to get through the season, follow along with me. Or, implement your own Microsteps that will support you to enjoy the moments you are in, no matter what season is before you.

#1: Bedtime Routine

The tone of our day begins the night before. Being well-rested is essential to optimal health and feeling our best.  

There are many Microsteps we can implement to create healthy habits around our bedtime routine and getting a good night’s rest.

This is the Microstep I’ve been implementing in my ‘Bedtime Routine’. I will write more about this in the weeks to come:

Instead of watching television or consuming technology before bed, spend time doing a quiet activity like reading, before you drift off to sleep.

I’m using my time before sleep to read a short passage in my Moonlight Gratitude book, by Emily Silva. Instead of viewing sleep as something I have to do, I’m going to see how it feels to be grateful for more hours of darkness. Before I drift off to sleep, I’ll give thanks for the opportunity to rest in the darkness and solitude of winter.

#2: Unplug and Connect with Nature

Connecting with nature is a great way to get back to basics and clear our minds. It feels good to be in the fresh air and take in the natural beauty of our surroundings.

It is less enticing to go outside when the weather is cold, rainy or gloomy. Instead of staying cooped up inside all winter, we can challenge ourselves by shifting the way we view winter weather.

This is the Microstep I’ve been implementing to ‘Unplug and Connect with Nature’. I’ll write more about this in the weeks to come:

Dress for the weather. Get outside to breathe in fresh air and take in the beautiful winter sights.

Every Monday morning, I have a running date scheduled with my good friend Cheri, who conveniently lives next-door. We’ve agreed to meet outside, no matter what the weather is like for the duration of winter.

#3: Create a Sense of Organization

Having a sense of organization can help us feel grounded and focused. When we are clear about what’s important to us and what our responsibilities include, it’s easier to create a roadmap we’ll actually stick to.

During the winter months, it can be easy to let routines fall away and lose our sense of structure. While it’s natural to embrace a slower pace during the winter, it doesn’t mean we can’t still have habits and routines that set us up to feel productive and passionate.

We can create a sense of personal satisfaction during any season of the year. Just because it’s winter and the days feel shorter, it doesn’t mean we can’t feel motivated and aligned with our purpose.

This is the Microstep I’ve been implementing to ‘Create a Sense of Organization’. I do this ritual on Sundays and I’ll write more about this in the weeks to come:

Weekly Planning Ritual

Pick a day to map out your upcoming week. Include your responsibilities, work hours, exercise time, time with loved ones, time to yourself, appointments etc. Create a framework, so you know what you realistically have time for and how you can best shape your week to feel your best.

When you are clear about the big picture of your life, it’s a lot easier to say yes to what is important and no to what isn’t. Then when you emerge from winter, you’ll feel rested, nourished and connected to what you value the most in life.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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