It’s 7:00 a.m. on a cold, dreary day. Going outside is the last thing you want to do. You’d rather spend your day inside curled up in a warm blanket. We’re meant to stay indoors during the winter, right? 

We’ve entered a difficult time in this pandemic. Outdoor gatherings may not be as appealing as they were in warmer weather. The options for socializing with others while maintaining a safe physical distance appear slim. Indoor gatherings still pose a health risk, but being isolated for the duration of the winter isn’t healthy either. 

What if we don’t have to put ourselves in this dilemma? What if there is another alternative? 

The Secret of Friluftsliv 

We can look to the Norwegian term friluftsliv for inspiration. Meaning “open-air living,” friluftsliv celebrates spending time outdoors no matter the weather. Norway’s winters are very harsh and yet many Norwegians still enjoy the outdoors in the winter. The secret is mindset. Simply shifting our mindsets from “the weather is cold, therefore it’s bad” to “the weather is cold, and it’s gorgeous” or “the weather is cold, so I will layer up today” can make a huge difference. Making external factors, like the weather, our enemy isn’t going to do us any good. If we change our mindsets, we can change the way we view and experience the world. We can take control of our happiness. 

How the Outdoors Benefits Us 

Having a positive mindset opens up the possibilities for wintertime activities. Rather than staying indoors all day, we can explore our neighborhoods or local parks. In fact, going outside in the winter is good for our physical and mental health. Exposure to our natural environment can help us receive important nutrients, such as vitamin D, and it can improve our immune systems. The assortment of natural stimuli we encounter is also good for our brains and creativity. Nature is shown to be therapeutic and a good way to relieve stress. 

Health benefits aside, being open to the outdoors in the winter can lead to more opportunities to connect with others at a safe physical distance. We could go on a hike or have a bonfire. Regardless of the activity, we’ll continue to build and maintain our personal relationships. Maybe we’ll discover new wintertime traditions that’ll last for years to come. 

Set Some Goals 

Let’s make it a goal to see the positives that winter brings us. Write down a list of things that you like about the winter. How do these things bring joy in your life? What are some things you can learn to like with a different mindset? Remember that it’s okay to take small steps in the right direction. You don’t need to love the winter. Appreciating even the smallest things, like the beauty of the snow or the intricacies of bare tree branches, can help train your brain to think more positively. Also set a goal to go outside at least once a day, whether it be to get the mail or to walk around the block. 

Embracing winter and living by the concept of friluftsliv is something we can all strive to do. If this winter is especially difficult for you, I am offering in-person appointments as well as HIPAA-compliant virtual options. Contact me, today.