Why Winter is the Best Time to Step Out of Your Comfort ZoneJan 15, 2023
Beat the winter blahs by doing something different!
Winter can be so boring. Short days and long dark nights coupled with cold, nasty weather, do little to inspire us.
It’s so easy to fall into the familiar territory known as our comfort zone.
For me, that includes curling up on the couch with a good book or an old movie or baking cookies while a pot of homemade soup simmers on the stove.
Yes, winter can be very boring. Especially if you live in a rural area or you’re an older adult like me.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Winter is actually the perfect time to get out of your comfort zone.
Because there’s so little else to distract you. You have time to plan or investigate your options.
It doesn’t take much imagination to find things to do during the spring and summer months. We are more active and social when it’s sunny and warm, and daylight lasts for hours.
But winter, there’s where the challenge lies.
It’s also the time we need to get out of our comfort zone the most. We’re susceptible to depression, anxiety, boredom, and frustration.
What happens when you get out of your comfort zone?
There’s no question, participating in activities outside your normal routine has the potential to lead to personal and professional growth.
We can increase our creativity as unfamiliar experiences help us gain new perspectives and come up with novel ideas.
Stepping into new tasks or responsibilities improves our skill set. New skills open us up to opportunities in our careers.
Leaving our comfort zone is a great way to learn about ourselves. We may discover something new that brings us immense satisfaction. Something we never thought we would enjoy doing.
There’s the potential to increase our confidence. We are likely to find we are more capable of learning, succeeding, teaching, problem-solving, etc. than we ever imagined.
Just trying something new is an ego booster for many people.
Personally, we have the chance to overcome fears each time we try something new. No matter how small the step, moving out of our comfort zone develops resilience.
Finally, getting out of our comfort zone may succeed in developing our sense of purpose. We discover what we really love doing, what inspires us, and what we can’t wait to return to.
If nothing else, jumping out of your comfort zone breaks up the monotony of winter. It combats the blah of January and humdrum of February by adding a little interest and excitement to our days.
Here are a few ideas for getting off the couch and into a new groove.
1. Visit a place you’ve never been to before
Many people dream of traveling during the winter months. But it can be expensive. Work and family obligations may not allow us the time to get away.
However, short trips can provide new adventures.
Despite all my years living in this area, I’ve never gone ice fishing or visited the small community which hosts an annual ice fishing derby. It only takes an hour to get there.
Crazy to think I’ve never been. Especially since I love fishing!
Think about a place you could visit within a couple hours’ drive from you.
Look for winter celebrations. (Another small town near me holds annual Outhouse Races. Seriously, it’s hilarious fun.)
Prefer not to be outdoors? Maybe there’s a museum in your community you have yet to visit. If nothing else, try a new restaurant, or spend the weekend at a local resort.
You shouldn’t have to spend a lot or travel far to visit a place you’ve never been before.
2. Take on a new task at work
For those that work outside the home, it’s hard to get up and going when you’re facing the same ol’, same ol’.
Winter may be a great time to ask your boss if you can change things up. Not to necessarily add more to your plate, but to vary the tasks or workspace.
Ask about trying a new filing system or introducing a new piece of technology. Take on a new client and move an old client to someone else.
Team up with another person in your workspace. As a teacher, it was easy to partner up with a colleague to work on a special project.
One winter I worked with a newbie history teacher on a grant to bring more access to learning-disabled students in her classroom.
It was definitely out of our comfort zone, but did we ever feel great when we were selected as recipients.
Even something as simple as updating a bulletin board or planning an employee luncheon, changing things up at work benefits you and your coworkers.
And you may develop new skills in the process which could lead to something even better.
3. Be a volunteer
Volunteering during the winter is a wonderful and much-needed way to get out of your comfort zone.
People often think of soup kitchens when you mention volunteering. Feeding the homeless is an important option in many cities.
But there are plenty of other opportunities out there as well.
In our rural area, we get lots of abandoned animals, especially dogs during the cold, nasty days of January through March. Because they are non-profit shelters, they rely on volunteers.
Local libraries and community centers often need more help during winter months, as do senior centers and programs assisting the disabled.
Many schools offer volunteer options. My neighbor helps out at the elementary school Book Fair every February.
Volunteering is not only a way of giving back, it’s a way of developing empathy, patience, and a sense of purpose.
4. Meet new people
It’s not difficult to meet new people, even in small communities and rural areas like where I live.
Think about the people you see every day. Instead of a simple “good morning,” try engaging in conversation or getting together for coffee.
One way to meet like-minded people is to join online groups with similar interests, needs, or lifestyles. I started a private group for women who live in small communities and rural areas -InsidetheSheShed.
You don’t have to start your own group, there are plenty of established online communities to suit every taste.
How about joining a book club, fishing club, or exercise group? Groups and clubs are ways to meet people with similar interests and learn from each other.
Our “neighborhood” holds Saturday night card parties during the winter months.
Not only are younger people starting to show up, it’s a great way to bring new neighbors into the fold. Even if they don’t play cards, there’s a lot of talking going on.
If being social isn’t your thing (yet), you can consider these options.
5. Change things up
My mother is in her 80s. It’s hard for her to get out and about in bad weather. She doesn’t have the money to travel. Her friends and family don’t live nearby.
Except for my sister, who visits her regularly. And rearranges her furniture every couple of weeks between Christmas and Easter.
I’m serious! This is how my mother keeps boredom from driving her mad. She has come up with so many ways to move the furniture around in her little apartment, she could write a book on it.
While this may not be out of her comfort zone, for some of us moving things around in our physical space can be challenging.
Think about your daily routine. What happens if you change that up? More efficient or not, it’s likely to relieve a little boredom and encourage you to try other changes.
I have a friend that had to drive a different way to work because of so much snow on the road. She grumbled until she discovered it was a nice change. She now has options she didn’t have before.
Whether it’s your physical space, your daily routine, or your driving route, changing things up can be an easy step toward moving out of your comfort zone.
6. Learn something new
Winter encourages us to stay home. It likes the warm and comfortable, safe and secure life.
We like it too. Sometimes.
It is possible to have that “place of contentment” and still get out of our comfort zone.
Learning something new doesn’t require us to leave home unless we want to.
Online learning options are virtually everywhere. (pun intended!). YouTube provides a ton of free stuff, but you must be cautious about where it’s coming from.
Udemy, Masterclass, Skillshare, LinkedIn are examples of paid programs available at relatively low cost. And the subject areas cover just about anything you can imagine.
If there is something you have always wanted to learn, winter is the perfect time to do it. Right in the comfort of your own home.
7. Act on a dream or a goal
Everyone has a dream or a goal. Some are more realistic than others, it’s true. But dreams and goals aren’t of any use if we don’t act upon them.
Action is a threat to our comfort zone.
Unlike a New Year’s resolution which seems a do-or-fail situation, setting a goal is something you work towards. Any progress is a reward.
I have several goals I’m working on. For instance, improving my writing skills, building my audience, and making an income from my work.
Very interrelated, but some aspects are scarier and more challenging than others. Those pieces are taking me out of my comfort zone.
However, I am gaining confidence at every attempt. I’m learning that my comfort zone has been a bit of a prison. And that my self-talk was not only negative but crafting clever misconceptions that kept me stuck.
What’s a dream or goal you can work on this winter? Let the monotony of winter push you in that direction. What do you have to lose except a few hours of boredom?
Get out of your comfort zone this winter.
There’s no perfect season for stepping out of our comfort zone. But winter provides time and opportunity we may not have at other times of the year.
The longer, warmer days of spring and summer are more inspiring. We are also busier and less likely to feel ho-hum about life.
Despite all the hoopla with the “new year, new beginning” theme, January, February, and even March can leave us feeling discouraged.
Stepping out of our comfort zone during the long dark days of winter can help us beat those winter blues.
But that’s not all. We will learn and grow in so many, many ways.
Feel a bit guilty for not taking better care of yourself?
Wish you had more time for it?
The Self-Care Mini-Workbook will help you discover what you are doing or could be doing to enhance your self-care practices? Give it a try for free!
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