Winter is a time to go within—both literally and figuratively. So many of us end up spending a lot more time inside thanks to the chilly temps, snow and ice. This can lead us to feel isolated and restless and lonely and sad.
Which is why reaching out to others is so critical—to meet your best friend at that restorative yoga studio you love, to schedule a Skype date with your sister, to start participating in an online book club, to take a drawing class.
But when reaching out to others isn’t possible, we can turn solitary moments into opportunities to reconnect with ourselves. We can turn these moments into opportunities to delve deeper into who we truly are, and what we truly need.
We can use this alone time to sit down somewhere cozy with a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate (yum), and a warm blanket, and self-reflect inside our journals. Here’s a wide array of questions you might like to explore:
- If you’re feeling uncomfortable right now, describe those sensations. Lean into them. What’s happening inside your body? What about your mind? What thoughts are popping up? Where might this discomfort be coming from?
- How were the holidays for you? Is there any situation or circumstances you need to process and make sense of? Any feelings you need to feel? As one therapist recently told me, we barely have any time to process the holidays before we’re catapulted into the new year, with the pressure of resolutions and transformation. This can leave feelings unexpressed, and swimming under the surface.
- What are you yearning for physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually?
- Is a part of your identity shifting in some way? How so?
- What can you see anew? Where can you tweak your perspective to support you? Is there something you need to accept?
- What feelings do you notice as you sit in the quiet, as you stop going and doing and sprinting?
- What do you need to work through?
- What aches, either physically or emotionally?
- What words do you need to read right now? Or to write for yourself? After all, we can write the words we need to read. We can give ourselves permission. We don’t have to wait for anyone else to provide it.
- What story are you telling yourself that actually isn’t true and isn’t serving you? How can you revise it?
- “What do you need to take care of in order to feel more free and aligned with who you truly are?”
- Are you being stingy with self-compassion? Probably because you think you’re undeserving? There’s a powerful quote I just came across that speaks to this: “Being kind to yourself only when you deserve it is like watering a plant only when it rains.” Where can you extend some compassion to yourself today?
For a lot of us, December was non-stop. And when we keep going, without much of a break, we don’t have the opportunity to really think things through. We get tunnel vision, and our main focus is on checking tasks off.
Which is why the next few months are a perfect time to pause and to process. They’re the perfect time to sit down and reconnect to ourselves, to have an ongoing conversation about how we’re doing, what we need, and how we can compassionately care for ourselves.
So think of these colder months when you’re stuck inside more as an opportunity, as a gift you can give yourself to slow down and to delve deeper.