Late fall and early winter can be some of the dreariest times of year.
Short days and miserable weather make it easy to get trapped in a freelancer funk. Why leave the house when it’s 35 degrees and sleeting sideways?
There are plenty of ways to reinvigorate yourself and stay on track despite the season. These techniques can help you get out of the house and back into your freelance routines and rhythms no matter the weather.
Of course, if you’re suffering from more than a minor case of the dreary weather blues, be sure to seek professional help.
1. Get coffee with a friend
When the weather’s awful, it’s very tempting to stay inside, snuggle your pets and avoid human interaction. But getting out and spending time with loved ones is a great way to fight the dreary weather blues.
Make a date with a friend or family member to get out of the house, put on actual pants and connect with a live human being. It doesn’t matter if you get coffee, lunch or happy hour. The important part is getting out and enjoying in-person interaction.
2. Shake up your exercise routine
Getting out, exercising and meeting new people is a great way to get energized and motivated. And that energy and motivation can help you stay focused and find new creativity in your writing.
Why not shake up your exercise routine and try something new?
Check out a new dance class, join a Meetup group or sign up for the indoor rec soccer league. Try a new sport and meet a few new people and you’ll barely notice the weather.
3. Spruce up your work space
Don’t let piles of papers and bleak views overwhelm you.
Instead, take some time to spruce up your work space.
Engage all your senses in your redesign efforts. Add cheerful scented candles, incense, motivating music and colorful accent pieces to revitalize your work space.
Put a cozy blanket on your chair, get a great new mug, and keep your favorite tea at the ready.
4. Take a yoga break
Better yet, take more than one yoga break. Many believe yoga can help spark creativity. It can also help reduce stress and make it easier to focus.
Set your calendar or alarm as a reminder and when it goes off, get up and practice some yoga. Or you could even just do a few simple stretches.
To avoid the temptation to silence your alarm and continue with your day sans break, get everything ready ahead of time. Unroll your yoga mat in the morning and have everything you need right beside you. If you like to use a video to guide you, queue it up so you just have to push play.
Or, if your schedule and budget allows, consider signing up for an in-person yoga class once or twice a week.
5. Sunlight is your friend
Many writers feel the most energized and creative when they have as much natural light as possible.
The short days and cold weather make it tricky to get enough sunlight. Make it a ritual to get outside and exercise in the sunshine. Take your dog for a walk, jog around the park or play tennis.
Whatever it is you like to do outside, be sure to make the time to get outside during daylight hours to enjoy it.
6. Work outdoors
Working outside in summer is easy. Lay down in a hammock with your laptop, start typing, and try not to drift off to sleep serenaded by birdsong. But who wants to freeze in a hammock in the winter?
Unless you live in the tropics, you’ll probably want to skip the hammock, but it’s still possible to do some outside work.
If you live in a mild climate, this might mean bundling up in blankets and working outside for short intervals with a steaming hot beverage by your side. Be sure to go inside before you get too cold and beware of hypothermia and frostbite.
Or, if you live somewhere a bit colder, you can work while you move. Bundle up and go for a walk and brainstorm as you’re walking. You may want to bring a voice recorder or smartphone app and record your thoughts as you go.
7. Go somewhere warmer
If you have the option, why not take a quick break from the dreariness and go somewhere warmer? Consider planning a writing retreat into your schedule.
You could either sign up for an organized retreat or create your own DIY retreat.
These techniques can help you break out of your daily routine and revitalize yourself for the coming season. Of course, they are not a panacea. If you are feeling down, be sure to consult your doctor and seek professional help. And be sure to consult a doctor before starting any kind of exercise routine.
What do you like to do to stay focused when the weather is dreary?