I bet I’m not the only one who breathes a sigh of relief sometimes when plans for a night out are canceled. Winter in particular can be a difficult time to leave your home.
Once the curtains are drawn the heater is on and you might be snuggled up with your pets or family, it can be a real effort to think about taking a shower and getting ready to venture out into the cold again and the rain. No wonder many of us want to hibernate throughout the winter.
Plus, after Christmas, many of us will have to budget due to a cash shortage. A recent survey found that a third of families have borrowed to finance Christmas, and repayment can take up to three years. It may seem like forever until the January paycheck is due.
Then there are those who plan their next vacation and start saving. All valid reasons why January can be a long cold month for many people. But to get out, it is often enough to make the effort and show up. Being sociable doesn’t always require a lot of expense and can be a great way to support us through those long winter months.
Why not make the effort and show up!
– Visit friends. Even if you’re just calling for coffee, it’s good to make the effort to stay in touch. There are many ways to enjoy each other’s company, perhaps by sharing photos, trivia, part of your music collection. A little imagination can go a long way.
– Invite friends over to your house. It’s always good to have a reason to tidy up the house! Suggest a supper. Cheese and cookies, a simple pasta dish or a casserole dish are often a welcome meal. Customers will often offer to bring something. Let them contribute and you can return the favor when you visit them.
– Be proactive. Create a book club, where everyone in turn offers a book to read and discuss. Host a game night. Cards, board games, and quiz nights are often so fun that they continue well throughout the year. Or a cocooning evening where “the girls” make the effort and show up with their beauty products, perhaps bringing a bottle, in order to take advantage of the catch-up.
– Consider training. It’s good to stretch out and step out of our comfort zone. Take the opportunity to improve yourself and commit to doing something you’ve been thinking about for a while. Exams don’t have to be a factor, just make the effort and come regularly so you can learn a new skill. It just might be a stimulating use of your time.
– Go outside. Going for a walk or running with friends or alone can be a positive investment in your fitness and increase your exposure to daylight. Exercising with friends or family can be an important way to connect through conversation, competition, and shared activity. Go up regularly for a nature walk, a soccer game or a run on the beach and enjoy the means to have precious time for myself or our time away from home, TV and the distractions of household chores, homework and technology.
And most of the time, when we put in the effort and turn up the result, it’s fun, where we’re glad we tried to go. In fact, those reluctant and unexpected evenings are often the best times. There weren’t any real expectations or maybe we just made minimal effort to get ready and dressed. These are the times that are often the most satisfying and rewarding of all.
It is also the case that sometimes we will make an effort and arrive but it will not be such a brilliant evening. All is not lost. We can always enjoy each other’s company and nurture our friendships. Rather than feeling disappointed or wasting our time, we can learn to relax and go with the flow.
See these moments as an investment to have a more relaxed approach, chat and laugh together and allow the evening to unfold at its own pace. When you decide to make the effort and show up, it can bring its own satisfaction and reward.