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10 Self-Improvement Tips for Winter (None of Which Require Leaving the House)

10 Self-Improvement Tips for Winter (None of Which Require Leaving the House)

Winter is a season that most people tough out, but there are joys to be had beyond the holidays.

Let the coldest time of year remind you of light and warmth, with acts of self-improvement and love, all within the cozy walls of your home. Your house is your hearth after all, and a few tips will see you through the season:

1. Batch Cook Comfort Food

There’s nothing like a good home-cooked meal, and while you’re at it, why not make extra? Stash away freezer meals to pop in the oven later for nutritious comfort food on the chilliest of days.

Take a whole day to tend to stew, soup, chili or lasagna. If you prefer to stay in bed, put together some tasty freezer meals in your slow cooker. Once it’s done, just store it away.

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2. Update Your Journal

At some point, you’ve started a journal, and it’s been several weeks, months or years since you’ve added to it. Write a new entry, even if it’s from the perspective of your cat observing your day. Make it strange! Make it interesting! Write about how you feel.

3. Write a Novel

You may have always wanted to try your hand at novel writing. First drafts are meant to be crappy. It’s a rite of passage to the glorious revision. Write, now!

Keep a pad and pen with you. Write a few sentences between chores or during a conversation with the friend who takes 10 years to describe a 10-minute moment. It all adds up.

4. Build a Capsule Wardrobe

Are you guilty of a badly put together grab-and-go look? Fling open your closet door, pull the clothes out of your drawers and mix and match. Build your own capsule wardrobe, with a few versatile pieces you love, that you can rearrange into many different outfits. It’s a mix of functional and stylish pants, shirts, blouses, skirts, dresses, and outerwear.

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The payoffs are big. You don’t waste time raiding your closet. You realize what a waste of time binge shopping is, and save money because you’re finally satisfied with your wardrobe. Only update it as needed.

5. Regulate Your Sleep Cycle

Hibernation may be for the bears, but you want to stay in bed, too. It’s understandable to not be as motivated as you would during the summer. Think of winter as the perfect time to finally regulate your sleeping schedule.

A lack of quality sleep affects your concentration, mood, and overall health. Create a ritual to wind down before bed and relax. Stick to set times during the week and on the weekends to go to bed and to wake up. When you regulate your sleep schedule, you’ll also notice improvements in your health and mood.

6. Develop an Indoor Exercise Routine

Whether you practice yoga or Zumba in your home, developing an indoor exercise routine will keep you motivated in the winter months. Exercise will get your blood flowing and keep you warm, producing helpful hormones to keep you alert and stress-free. When you don’t want to go to the gym, a 30-minute workout indoors is just as good.

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7. Learn a New Language

Brush up on another language you learned in school but are out of practice with. There are many beautiful languages with unique idioms and phrases that express complex emotions with one simple word. Expand your horizons and rewire the way you speak, think and relate to learning a new language.

8. Pamper Your Skin

Once a week, have a spa day and take care of your skin. After all, it’s your body’s largest organ. Your skin protects you from disease and helps keep you warm in the winter. Give it love with homemade skin care recipes, from natural face masks to creamy body lotions.

9. Organize the Messiest Space

Whether it’s your desk, closet or a storage room, organize the messiest space in your home. The rest of your house and life won’t look so challenging, once the biggest mess is out of the way.

10. Do One Random, Silly Thing Every Day

Playtime is good for adults, and you know you work too hard. Turn off your cell phone and take off the serious mask.

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Release your inner child for unstructured playtime. Have a dance party. Build a blanket fort. Skip on your way to the bathroom. Sing in the shower. When you let yourself play, you’ll boost your mood, be more productive and laugh.

Avoid the seasonal blues and have a good winter by staying engaged with life. Keep warm and cozy indoors as you cook comfort food, write the great American novel or learn a new language. Winter may mean longer nights, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them.

Featured photo credit: Giulia Bertelli via unsplash.com

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Kayla Matthews

Productivity and self-improvement blogger

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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