After the excitement of the holidays fades and we settle into a new year, those of us living in temperate climates are faced with long months full of short days and a chill in the air that makes hibernation seem like the best option. Having experienced twelve brutal winters in New York City, and now on to my ninth winter in Paris, I know the “winter woes” all too well. This year, rather than give in to the endless gray days, I am planning to embrace them. How exactly might you ask? Well, I have a strategy. Here’s my plan. Feel free to join me!
1. Make intentions. Rather than make resolutions that tend to overwhelm rather than inspire, I’m making intentions. I took this brilliant idea from my dear and clever friend Laura Calder. This year, instead of resolving to speak French like a native, learn proper Italian (hand gestures and all), write for leading media and maybe even write a book (who me, too ambitious?), I intend to make time to speak more French, study Italian especially when in Italy, and continue writing any chance I get. As for a book, I’ve got an idea brewing and I’ll do my best! After all, isn’t life meant to be all about the journey?
2. Celebrate the small wins. I recently read an article about how we don’t see what it took Olympian Michael Phelps to win the gold medal, all the small wins in the form of daily practice and dietary restrictions, we only see the end result, in his case, 28 Olympic medals. Whether it’s becoming fit, learning a language, practicing yoga or meditation, isn’t it just as important or even more so, to celebrate the small wins that lead up to the big win? I will keep reminding myself this, every time I feel defeated.
3. Meditate. This leads me to one of my greatest intentions, meditation. I’ve read countless articles and spoken to many women and men whom I admire, and they all say the same thing “meditation changed my life”. I’m an advocate for mindfulness, and have been practicing yoga for over 15 years, yet have a hard time sticking to meditation. This year I resolve to spend 10-20 minutes every morning watching my thoughts drift by and not becoming attached to them. Eventually it will become an empowering practice I love, right? Since most of us are smart phone addicts, here are 10 of the best meditation apps.
4. Go inwards. While spring is all about spending time outdoors, reveling in the beauty of friendships and flowers in bloom, the rejuvenation of earth, mind and body, winter is the time to go within. This may sound quite scary as it entails being alone with the self, away from social distractions and social media. Taking time to look inside and ask yourself a few important questions. (What those are, are up to you.) It’s a time to self-assess, to go inwards in order to later enjoy the coming out, come spring. If you don’t see me on Instagram as often, you’ll know why.
5. Enjoy each moment. Unlike spring, summer and fall with the many goings-on and social engagements common to a life well lived, winter calls for quietude. It allows for time to try new projects, discover a new author and take more care of ourselves. Daylight becomes a commodity and nights often feel endless. Rather than wishing for days to pass as I did in winters’ past, I am embracing every chilly, gray or rainy day, and using as many moments as possible to put my intentions in motion, celebrate the small wins, meditate and go inwards. Oh, and I’ll also take time to enjoy this beautiful city I call home.