For many of us, January can be a tough time of year. The holiday lights and festivities have dimmed, and three — if we’re lucky — months of winter lie before us.
While the days remain short and the air becomes frigid, it’s a good time to remember the quote from French philosopher and author Albert Camus: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
It’s also an ideal time to examine life’s priorities and how the choices we make can lead to greater happiness, health and well-being. That’s what Hunt for Happiness week is all about. It takes place the third full week of January each year.
In honor of the week, here are seven positive steps you can take:
1. Embrace Color
The winter months can feel dark and dreary. Color, conversely, can infuse us with light and life. Certain colors represent and invoke particular emotions. For example, red is associated with energy, yellow with creativity and cheer, green with nature and healing, and blue with trust and peace.
Add color to your life through wearing a bold hue or lighting a colorful candle. It’s also an excellent idea to eat your colors — heap your plate with a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables. In the cold months, those include citrus fruits, apples, pears, winter squash, broccoli and cauliflower, to name a few.
“Here in Wisconsin, we have access to so many wonderful fruits and vegetables,” says Dr. Suzanne Havican, a family medicine physician with ThedaCare Physicians-New London.
2. Get Moving
It can be hard to find the motivation to exercise in the winter, but moving your body will improve your mood — and overall health.
The people of Norway have a saying: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” So, bundle up and get outside for winter hiking, snowshoeing, sledding, snowman building, or skiing. But don’t forget the sunscreen, Dr. Havican says.
If you prefer to stay indoors, try the treadmill or elliptical, spin class, an exercise video, mall walking, swimming at an indoor pool, or working out at your local YMCA or gym.
3. Find Ways to Live Your Unique, Best Life
Winter is a great time of year to explore a new hobby or rekindle an old one. Try a healthy recipe, knit a sweater, pick up some books at the library, or take a class.
4. Take Time to Care for Yourself
Stay connected to your church or spiritual community if that’s meaningful to you, or explore meditation and mindfulness on your own or through an app.
Take care of your physical health as well. Make sure to schedule your 2023 annual wellness visit and any necessary screenings. “It’s a good idea to check in with your primary care provider and ask, is there anything we need to tweak? Are you a little anemic? Maybe your vitamin D level is a little low,” Dr. Havican says.
If you need mental health care, group therapy through ThedaCare Behavioral Health can offer a great option.
5. Foster Strong Relationships
Our networks of support are so vital. Reach out to friends and family to stay connected — in person or virtually. Meet a friend for coffee, play a family game, set up a video call with faraway loved ones, or have a dinner party with friends.
6. Find Your Inspiration
Look for ways to give back. Doing so not only helps others, it feels good for the person doing the giving. Explore volunteer opportunities, donate to causes that are meaningful to you, and consider mentoring a young person or colleague.
7. Explore a New Career Opportunity
Sometimes a fresh start is in order. If you’re looking for a fulfilling and rewarding career, we hope you’ll look into job opportunities at ThedaCare. As you explore, learn what inspires some of our team members to serve our communities.
Before you know it, it will be spring, and we’ll begin the cycle of seasons all over again. Adopt some positive habits along the way, and you’ll set yourself up for a healthier and happier 2023.
Start 2023 on a healthy note
Use MyThedaCare to schedule your annual wellness visit.