Winter is well and truly here! With the colder weather, it’s natural to want to stay inside where it’s warm and cosy. Winter is a season of introspection and hibernation and is a great time to connect as a couple. You naturally want to cuddle up a bit closer when it’s cold out and it can be a great season for building intimacy with your partner. You may find that you are going out less and naturally spending more time indoors. While this can definitely build romance, the winter months can also be challenging for the health of your relationship.
As a relationship counsellor and psychotherapist, I see more clients in winter who are struggling with their mood and wellbeing, perhaps becoming more depressed than normal. You may find the colder weather and all that indoors time with your partner challenging. To support your relationship wellbeing this winter, here are my top 5 suggestions for keeping your relationship cozy this winter.
1. Get some sunshine. Even being outside for 10 minutes to run an errand in your lunch-break, can make you feel better. Sunshine boosts your serotonin, which is a “feel-good” chemical released in the brain that is associated with positive mood. Anti-depressants work on increasing serotonin in the brain, but sunshine does this naturally. Getting out on the weekends to a park or cafe and sitting in the sun can be a great way to spend time together as a couple and as a family. Winter is a great time to take a holiday, if you have the time and money, to somewhere warm. Plenty of sunshine and a relaxing holiday can keep the romance flowing in your relationship and boost your mood.
2. Stay social. Seeing your friends, having dinner parties at home, or catching up for a phone or Skype chat are all important for your own wellbeing and that of your relationship. Spending too much time together cooped up inside can be as bad for your relationship as spending too little time together. Being social over winter, as a couple and individually, breathes new life and energy into your relationship. Your partner can not meet all your needs, so staying connected with your social network over winter is just as important as at other times of the year. It’s worth making the effort!
3. Be active. It can be tempting to let your exercise routines go during the colder months and to stay inside rather than go for a walk or get to the gym. Building physical activity into your day will make you feel good physically and mentally, and can improve your libido and self-esteem. Finding ways to be active during winter, either together, such as dancing classes, or separately, such as yoga, indoor soccer or gym classes, will nourish and energise you and your relationship.
4. Cuddle up. Unlike the hot nights of summer, winter is great time to be affectionate and build the physical side of your relationship. Holding hands, cuddling on the couch and long hugs release oxytocin, another hormone, which promotes bonding and connection in couples. Going for walks on cold days rugged up and holding hands is just one way to be loving with each other. Taking a nice hot shower or bath together, massaging each other with beautiful scented oils, or sitting in front of a fireplace are all ways to build romance and intimacy over winter.
5. Do Something New. Sharing novel experiences builds a bond and creates happy memories. Visit a new neighbourhood, try a new activity, visit an art gallery, work on a project at home together or take a new evening class. Couples that learn or do something new together on a regular basis tend to be happier. Novel experiences help you to understand yourself and your partner better, and are lots of fun. Rather than getting stuck in a rut sitting in front of the TV, planning new experiences that you do together, freshens up your mind and your relationship. The effort it takes to try something new will definitely pay off, and it may open up a new shared activity that you both enjoy. Couples that spend regular quality time together every week, are shown to be happier and more satisfied with their relationship.
If you feel like your relationship has lost a bit of warmth lately, then there is not better time than now to make a positive change. Contact me to book an appointment to find out how I can help you banish the blues in your relationship, before it gets any worse. Let’s talk before it breaks