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As February creeps in, we’re officially past the warm sparkle and celebration of the December holidays, and fizzy hope of January and the start of a fresh year. We’ve entered the time of year where our hearts groan for Spring, but the snow on the ground and frost biting our cheeks remind us we’re still firmly in winter. 

For many, the dark days and cold weather can feel never-ending – like we’re in a state of permanent winter. And with this can come a feeling of hopelessness. In these times it’s hard to remember that the crocuses and daffodils find ways to poke through the ground, or that we’ve once felt warmed by the sun on our skin. And this here is our hope, that these things will happen again, like clockwork, even if we can’t see them or experience them right now. 

If you find yourself struggling with what seems like an endless winter, it may help to both honor your current emotions and remind yourself of what exists outside them. Try some of these journaling prompts if you’re looking to explore further: 

  • What emotions do I feel around this time of year? Where or how am I carrying those feelings in my body? 
  • What are some things about winter that give me a small bit of joy or hope (e.g. can be as small as your morning cup of coffee, or the way snow reflects through a closed bedroom curtain)? 
  • Make a list of things that you know to be true each Spring (e.g. X sport returns, X flower blooms, sun sets at X time, etc.) 

You’re not weak or wrong if you struggle this time of year. So many do when our human instinct leans toward connection, warmth and light. But the bitterness outside does not mean we need to feel hardened and embittered within. In fact, the journaling prompts above and your reflection may point you to the need to soften in this time of year. To be gentle to yourself and those around you as we all muddle through this winter – feeling alone, but together nonetheless. 

By: Maddy Weingast, Assistant for Therapy for Eating Disorders and Body Image